25th Great British Beach Clean

25th Great British Beach Clean

This year's beach clean could help 'tip the balance' in persuading governments to act to prevent plastic waste from polluting the oceans, says the Marine Conservation Society

join a beach clean up

The 25th Great British Beach Clean, organised by the Marine Conservation Society, runs from 14-17 September. Volunteers will gather rubbish from beaches all around the British Isles and the MCS is hoping data will show another reduction in the amount of single use plastic bags picked up from the shore. Last year's beach clean saw 7,000 volunteers clear waste from 339 beaches, picking up more 255,000 pieces of littler. The MCS hopes this year's silver anniversary clean-up will see 500 beaches cleared of waste. 

MCS volunteers have been cleaning Britain's beaches for a quarter of a century, during which time plastic became the predominant waste material.

The organisation is encouraging people to contact it and join the weekend beach clean of 14-17 September, which it hopes will see more than 500 beaches around Britain cleared of rubbish.

Volunteers record the number and type of piece of rubbish picked up and there has been some good news showing a reduction in plastic bags collected. The single-use plastic carrier bag charge, introduced in England in 2015, has resulted in a 28 per cent drop in the number of bags found on UK beaches, and evidence of ocean plastic pollution is resulting in changes in legislation.

Microbeads in personal care products, for example, have been banned in the UK and manufacturers and retailers have made wet wipe labelling clearer, and cut out their plastic content. The hospitality sector is starting to ban plastic straws and momentum is growing for a tax on plastic 'on the go' items such as lids, stirrers and cutlery.  

'The more beaches we have litter data for, the clearer the picture we'll have of where it all comes from and what needs to be targeted next,' says Lizzie Prior, MCS Beach and River Clean Officer. 'We would love to see well over 500 beaches cleaned this year. So if you live near a beach or have a favourite that you regularly visit, why not show it some love and organise a beach clean and survey. It's really simple and the data you collect could result in further legislative change to help our oceans breathe plastic free.' 
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