If you’re looking for an excuse to get out on a beach in September when most people are turning their attentions to more indoor pursuits, then the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) may have the very thing for you.
You could be among thousands of volunteers who annually join the MCS Beachwatch Big Weekend every third weekend in September to clean their local or favourite beach, record what they find to help the fight against marine litter both at home and abroad as part of the International Coastal Clean-up, organised by Ocean Conservancy.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the September Beachwatch clean-ups and the charity is determined to make it bigger and better than ever – with more volunteers and more beaches cleaned.
“Beach litter has steadily risen over the two decades we’ve been recording it on UK beaches,” says MCS Beachwatch Officer, Lauren Eyles. “Beachwatch is the most respected and long standing beach litter survey in the UK, but we need more people to join us as volunteer beach cleaners to help make this 20th anniversary event the most comprehensive collection of data yet.”
With just over a month to go before the event, which will take place over the weekend of 20th -23rd September, MCS hopes the 20th anniversary event will have even more volunteers than in 2008 when over 5,000 people helped clean nearly 400 beaches.
“Cleaning a beach only takes a couple of hours at most,” says Lauren Eyles. “The Beachwatch organiser explains how to fill in the data forms and then it’s just a case of grabbing a litter picker and a bin bag and filling it up with rubbish!”
Over the years Beachwatch volunteers have found everything from a life size fake donkey to KP peanut packet from the 1970’s washed up on our beaches.
Beachwatch really does make a difference to litter on our shorelines says Lauren Eyles: “In 2010 the Beachwatch data highlighted a rise in the amount of sewage related debris (SRD) found on UK beaches – that’s the stuff people put down their toilets but shouldn’t, like condoms, nappies and sanitary towels – which led to a drop in SRD the following year, whilst in 2011 the revelation that there was a sharp rise in dog poo bags on beaches led to far less being found in 2012 after high levels of media coverage.”
If you would like to get involved in an event that will benefit your favourite or nearest beach and help the issue of beach litter globally, visit www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch, email:: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Beachwatch team on 01989 567807 who will be happy to answer any questions about the event.