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Join the Great British Beach Clean 2021

Don't live near the sea? You can still join the Great British Beach Clean this September as the Marine Conservation Society launches its Source to Sea Litter Quest.

Comedian Zoe Lyons stands wearing red hat in front of Brighton pier with little picker raised towards the sky and smiling face

Keen to take part in the Great British Beach Clean from 17-26th September this year, but unable to get to the coast? You can still make an important contribution by taking part in their new inland Source to Sea Litter Quest, picking and recording the litter you find in parks or on streets near you.

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As well as giving nature and wildlife a helping hand, you’ll record valuable data that can help us better understand the journey from land to sea, and help the MCS campaign for more effective solutions.

To take part inland, simply download a survey form and head outside.

Group of people in blue high-visibility vests smiling with litter pickers on a beach
Marine Conservation Society beach clean. Credit: Aled Llywelyn

Great British Beach Clean ambassador Zoe Lyons said: “The inland litter picks collect information which will help the Marine Conservation Society understand how much of the litter on our beaches is making its way there from our villages, towns and cities far from the coast.”

Last year, volunteers taking part in the Marine Conservation Society’s Coastal Clean-up and citizen science project collected 151,422 litter items, which included PPE equipment on 30% of beaches.

Lizzie Prior, Beachwatch Officer at the Marine Conservation Society says: “The Great British Beach Clean is a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference. Not only do volunteers help keep the UK’s beaches beautiful and litter-free, they collect vital data on what’s polluting our environment.”

First launched in 1994, the Great British Beach Clean 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.

Man in sunglasses looks down onto beach as he picks up litter
Are you beach ready? Picture credit: Aled Llywelyn

Dr Laura Foster, Head of Clean Seas at the Marine Conservation Society, has said: “Single-use plastic has been used increasingly during the pandemic, but we need to ensure this is not a permanent backwards step. At the same time, we’ve seen people spending more time outdoors and enjoying our beaches.

“We’re calling on the government for a truly green recovery, fit for a low-carbon future. All-inclusive Deposit Return Schemes and an Extended Producer Responsibility system would make huge impacts on the volume of litter we see in the ocean, in our parks and across beaches. We need systematic change and ambitious policy to truly curb the litter polluting our ocean and environment.”

Young boy helping to litter pick on a beach
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 (17th-26th September 2021), visit: mcsuk.org/beachwatch

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Main image credit: Marco Betti/Marine Conservation Society.