The UK’s leading marine charity is urging people who love the coast and enjoy nothing better than a barefoot stroll along the beach to do their bit in the worldwide fight against marine litter.
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) will be running it’s 20th annual Beachwatch Big Weekend beach cleaning event between the 20th and 23rd September and the charity hopes this years clean up will put the UK in the top 20 of the 100 or so participating countries and regions which take part in the International Coastal Clean-up during the same weekend every year.
“As an island nation, where many communities rely on the cleanliness of beaches for their coastal economy, beach litter and the problems it causes to both humans and wildlife is being largely ignored both by the public and local and national authorities,” says MCS Beachwatch Officer, Lauren Eyles.
“In the last 20 years beach litter has steadily risen. Our volunteers clean and survey the litter on hundreds of beaches every September, making this survey the most respected and long standing in the UK, but we need more people to host cleans at new beaches as well as at existing beaches on our database. The more beaches we have litter data for, the clearer the picture we will have of where it all comes from and what we can do about it.”
The MCS Beachwatch Big Weekend is part of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Clean-up. Last year volunteers, at beaches all over the world, covered a distance of nearly 18,000 miles and collected weird finds ranging from lottery tickets to toothbrushes. In the UK 240 beaches were cleaned covering almost 56 miles.
“We would love to see 300 beaches cleaned in 2013,” says Lauren Eyles. “Anyone wishing to run a beach clean will get lots of help from MCS and get everything they need from our Beachwatch online interactive website. The coast isn’t just for a week’s holiday…it’s for all year round. Our volunteer numbers put us at 24th out of 97 countries last year; it would be great to break into the top 20 or even higher!”
If you would like to get involved in an event that will benefit your favourite 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.