A BLIGHT ON OUR BEACHES

THE AMOUNT OF RUB­BISH LIT­TER­ING BRITAIN’S SHORE­LINES IS ON THE RISE

The Chronicle - - News / Daily Graphic - By AL­ICE CACHIA

CUT­LERY, crisp pack­ets and cot­ton buds are some of the most com­monly found pieces of lit­ter clut­ter­ing our beaches.

That is the lat­est find­ing from the Great Bri­tish Beach Clean, in which mem­bers of the pub­lic scoured 339 beaches for lit­ter across Eng­land, Wales, Scot­land, North­ern Ire­land and the Chan­nel Is­lands.

They found some 718 pieces of lit­ter ev­ery 100 me­tres - an 11 per cent in­crease from the 649 pieces found the pre­vi­ous year.

Dis­carded plas­tic and poly­styrene were the most col­lected items, with 225 pieces found for ev­ery 100 me­tres of beach. There were 42 dis­carded pack­ets for crisps, sweets, lol­lies and sand­wiches, and 40 pieces of glass. The vol­un­teers also found 35 cig­a­rette stubs per 100 me­tres of beach. Luck­ily, the cig­a­rette stubs col­lected will be re­cy­cled - into out­side hoard­ing boards.

Caps and lids (33 per 100 me­tres) and string and cord (31 per 100 me­tres) also make sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to our beach lit­ter.

And there were 28 wet wipes per 100 me­tres, plus 27 cot­ton buds.

Lit­ter from eat­ing and drink­ing in­clud­ing cups, cut­lery, straws and foil wrap­pers - made up around a fifth of all rub­bish found on beaches last year.

Over­all the vol­un­teers col­lected 255,209 pieces of lit­ter in 2017.

Emma Cunningham, se­nior pol­lu­tion cam­paigns of­fi­cer for the Marine Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety said: “Plas­tics do not sim­ply dis­ap­pear and can last for hun­dreds if not thou­sands of years at sea.

“They can also weather down into smaller plas­tic pieces and be eaten by marine wildlife and ul­ti­mately by us as top con­sumers.

“The most com­mon is­sues for wildlife are through in­ges­tion and en­tan­gle­ment.

“Our ac­tions have im­pli­ca­tions for pol­lu­tion in the ocean, which in turn im­pacts our health and welfare.

“We need to move away from a throw­away so­ci­ety to a cir­cu­lar econ­omy in which all prod­ucts are de­signed to be re­paired, reused and re­made, thereby re­mov­ing waste and lit­ter. “Ev­ery­one can make a dif­fer­ence. Take your rub­bish home, re­cy­cle ev­ery­thing you can, re­duce the amount of plas­tic you use by us­ing re­us­able cups and bot­tles, refuse straws in drinks and re­mem­ber to take re­us­able bags to the shops.” In re­cent weeks a num­ber of large fast­food and cof­fee chains have signed an agree­ment to ac­cel­er­ate the UK’s re­cy­cling of plas­tic lined pa­per cups. These in­clude Costa Cof­fee, Greggs, and McDon­ald’s.

138 pieces of ‘on-the-go lit­ter’ were found along ev­ery 100 me­tres of beach

The 2018 Beach Clean will take place in Septem­ber

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