According to the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), nearly 15,000 people helped clean 494 beaches in 2018, an increase of 155 beaches cleaned in 2017.
Data recorded from the 2017 clean found that more than 600 items of litter was recorded for every 100m of UK coastline.
To support this year’s Great British Beach Clean, the conservation group is asking even more people to take action in 2019, by adopting a beach and leading a clean-up and litter survey.
Lizzie Prior, MCS Beachwatch Officer said: “Cleaning so many individual beaches last year was a fabulous achievement by our volunteer cleaners and organisers…But we know that it’s only the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds and hundreds of beaches around our coasts that have never been cleaned and surveyed – and it’s the collection of this data that is so important to getting even more positive actions implemented than have already been achieved in the last year or so.”
Man litter picking on a beach
Data collected by volunteers from the 25 years of MCS-led Great British Beach Cleans has played a key role in the introduction of the 5p single-use carrier bag charge, the ban on microbeads in personal cleaning products like shower gels and toothpastes, the commitment to a Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland (and the consultation on one in England and Wales), and a ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in England from next year.
“This year we’re appealing for more people to adopt a beach and become one of our army of beach clean organisers,” says Lizzie Prior. “It’s an absolutely vital role because the more beaches we have litter data for, the clearer the picture we will have of where it all comes from and what needs to be targeted next.”
Young boy helping to litter pick on a beach
How to take part in the Great British Beach Clean
If you would like to participate in the Great British Beach Clean (20th-23rd September 2019), sign up here: https://www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch/