Bags of support for beach clean mission

The next Marine Conservation Society Great British Beach Clean will take place in September.
The next Marine Conservation Society Great British Beach Clean will take place in September.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and supermarket Waitrose have joined forces to create a new series of beach and river clean events.

The organisations are hoping to get more people than ever before cleaning and recording litter from England’s beaches and rivers.

Support from Waitrose will help MCS put on more clean-ups and mobilise the public in the fight back against the rising tide of plastic litter on the area’s beaches.

The supermarket is donating £500,000 from its carrier bag funds to MCS who will organise around 1,000 beach and river clean-ups during 2017/18.

The Waitrose Beach and River Clean-up series will kick off during MCS’s Great British Beach Clean event from Friday 15 September to Sunday 18 September.

For the first time, many of the plastics removed from the beaches and rivers will be sorted and recycled, giving them a second life as new products.

During the 2016 Great British Beach Clean, 268,384 individual items of litter were collected at 364 events by just under 6,000 volunteers.

Sandwich containers, along with crisp, sweet and lolly wrappers, were the third highest find with almost 44 items per 100 metres.

Lauren Eyles, beachwatch manager at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “Beach litter has steadily risen over the two decades that MCS volunteers have been recording it on UK beaches.

“Last year, on average in the UK, 694 items of litter were collected for every 100 metres cleaned.

“Plastic bottles and carrier bags, nappies, balloons and tiny plastic pieces can be found on almost every beach in the UK – either washed up, blown there or dropped.

“Our beaches are suffering, and most of the litter found can be traced back to us – the general public.

“We can all do something positive to help – find your nearest event and get stuck in!”

People can register now to take part in clean-ups at www.mcsuk.org/waitrose.