The Great British Beach Clean, hosted by the UK’s leading marine charity, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) will take place this weekend from September 20-23.
Members of the public are urged to join the charity to clear litter from the UK’s coastline and help collect valuable data.
Last year, 15,000 volunteers took part, removing an incredible 8,550 kilos of litter from beaches around the UK.
The charity hopes to surpass last year’s record-breaking numbers with an even bigger turnout of volunteers helping to keep the UK’s beaches beautiful.
Volunteers at the Great British Beach Clean not only remove harmful marine litter, but become citizen scientists too who record valuable data which MCS uses to influence policy changes at a national level.
Volunteers are asked to record all the litter they find along a designated 100m stretch of beach which helps MCS build a picture of the most prolific litter types and tackle them at source.
Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said: “Litter blights out beaches and threatens our ocean life. Thanks in part to the efforts of countless volunteers across the UK each year, we can help to keep them clean and protect the wildlife that lives there.
“But we can’t just deal with the damage caused by litter and plastic pollution – we need to tackle this issue at source and we are taking action. I encourage everyone to take part in this year’s Great British Beach Clean and to do their bit to help protect our environment.
“It can also be great fun.”
Lizzie Prior, MCS Beachwatch Officer, said: “Taking part in the Great British Beach Clean really can make a difference. In previous years when we’ve highlighted increases in dog poo bags and sewage related debris found on beaches and seen drops in numbers subsequently. Collecting data on litter across the UK’s beaches is all-important in turning the tide on plastic and marine pollution.”
Cleaning and surveying a beach only takes a couple of hours at most. Each beach has a coordinator who explains how to fill in a simple data form, then it’s just a case of grabbing a litter picker and a bin bag and filling it up with rubbish. Whilst some of the UK’s beaches may look clean at first glance, last year’s cleans found an average of 600 items of litter per 100m of beach; volunteers are sure to find more than they might expect.
This year, for the first time, the Great British Beach Clean will be sponsored by the Ocado Foundation, the charitable arm of the online supermarket.
The Foundation will be sponsoring the event to the tune of £300,000 as part of the Environmental Pillar of its ‘Ocado Way – Corporate Responsibility Strategy’.
Suzanne Westlake, Head of Corporate Responsibility & Corporate Affairs, Ocado Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to be teaming up with the Marine Conservation Society on the GBBC. As a retailer we take our responsibilities with waste very seriously. We are very proud to be part of the event and the clean-up of Britain’s beaches it will achieve.”
Players of People’s Postcode Lottery also support the Marine Conservation Society beach litter programme.
Sign up to a clean near you at www.mcsuk.org/greatbritishbeachclean and if you can’t find an event on your preferred beach, call 01989 566017 and find out how you can organise your own.