Local volunteers wanted to join big beach clean

The Marine Conservation Society holds its beach clean next month.
The Marine Conservation Society holds its beach clean next month.

Organisers of the Great British Beach Clean are appealing for volunteers to join the 25th annual clean-up next month.

Marine charity, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), is hoping people in the Scarborough area will take part in the event between Friday 14 and 17 September.

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 and then it’s just a case of grabbing a litter picker and a bin bag and filling it up with rubbish.

The beach clean not only spruces up hundreds of beaches around the coast, but volunteers also record the litter they find, and it’s this aspect that has really helped MCS change policy and behaviours over the last quarter of a century.

The 5p carrier bag charge, a ban on microbeads in wash-off products, consultations on a plastic tax and deposit return schemes, reduction in the use of plastic straws and the banning of lantern and balloon releases – all have come about following compelling evidence gathered over decades of MCS beach cleans.

The 2017 Great British Beach Clean saw almost 7,000 volunteer beach cleaners pick up record amounts of litter from 339 UK beaches – a staggering 718 bits of rubbish from every 100 metres cleaned.

Beach litter has steadily risen over the 24 years since MCS began recording it. However, there was some good news last year when the number of single-use plastic bags found on UK beaches almost halved between 2015 and 2016.

Lizzie Prior, MCS beach and river clean project 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. We’ve seen drops in numbers subsequently.

“Due to the massive increase in wet wipes we found between 2013 and 2015 we were able to launch our ‘Wet Wipes Turn Nasty’ campaign which has resulted in improvements in labelling, removal of plastic from ‘flushable’ wet wipes in retailers’ own brands, and showed retailers the need for their flushable wipes to pass water industry standards.”

Visit www.mcsuk.org/greatbritishbeachclean or call 01989 566017 to sign up.