Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk/Essex: Urgent action needed to tackle rising tide of litter on beaches

11:08 27 March 2014

Beachwatch Big Weekend 2013 - The Felixstowe Society/Felixstowe Beach Huts Association

Beachwatch Big Weekend 2013 - The Felixstowe Society/Felixstowe Beach Huts Association


Litter found on beaches in Suffolk and Essex is still steadily increasing each year – and the latest national shore survey found more rubbish per kilometre than ever before.


Volunteers who took part in the annual Beachwatch Big Weekend spotcheck picked up 223,405 bits of litter – 19,518 of them along Suffolk’s coast – compared with 181,978 in 2012.

Plastic was the biggest problem, with a large part of the waste left behind by visitors to the coast, but also rubbish that had been washed ashore, including a small amount of material dumped from ships and also lost fishing gear, including line, nets, weights, and floats.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) said the number of pieces of litter per km in 2013 was 2,300 nationally, compared with 2,007 in 2012. In Suffolk, volunteers found 1,946 pieces per km and in Essex 6,045.

In Suffolk, 400 volunteers cleaned 24 beaches from Southwold to Felixstowe, covering 10 km and filling 173 bags with 286kg of waste.

The MCS said 39.4% of all the litter was dropped intentionally, left behind accidentally, or arrived on beaches carried on the wind or in rivers; fishing accounted for 12.6%; shipping 4.5%; sewage related debris 4.3%; but the source of 38% of the waste could not been identified. There was an urgent need for further action from various sources and Government.

Lauren Eyles, MCS Beachwatch officer, said: “This is a disgusting tide of litter which is threatening the safety of beach visitors both human and animal.

“It’s coming in from the sea, being blown from the land or simply being dumped and dropped.

“After 20 years of campaigning it’s disheartening that in 2013 we are seeing worse litter levels than ever.”

Plastic remains the main concern – tiny bits of plastic that have broken off larger items or have been in the sea for possibly decades and become smaller and smaller.

Ms Eyles said: “Plastic is a real issue for our oceans and beaches. This year we also picked up lots of lids and caps.

“However, despite it being a really warm summer, we saw less crisp, sweets and lolly wrappers and fewer plastic bottles.

“There’s continued good news for sewage related debris – there’s still less of it about after we asked people, in 2011, to stop flushing things down the loo that should go in the bin.”

Andy Smith, Suffolk Coastal cabinet member for coastal management, said: “Thankfully, a large proportion of local people and visitors are responsible and do not litter the beach. However, what we cannot influence is what people do off-shore, dumping things from boats and ships.

“We know that the vast majority of litter on our beaches is washed up from far and wide. While we cannot control this, we can express our gratitude for the good citizenship of the many volunteers who work tirelessly to clear up this mess.

“Litter is not only an eyesore, it is a health risk to beach users and wildlife. I would appeal for everyone to play their part in keeping the beaches clean, no matter how far out at sea they may be!”



Highpoint Prison in Stradishall, Suffolk.

A BB gun and ammunition were found by an inmate at a prison in Suffolk.

East Anglian Air Ambulance

A chimney sweeper remains in a critical condition with spinal injuries after falling from a roof in Combs yesterday.

Will  Ian Cumming be crowned Bake Off Champion 2015 tonight?

Tonight marks the grand final of the Great British Bake Off and viewers will watch as Ian Cumming, Nadiya Hussain and Tamal Ray battle it out for the Bake Off crown.

Hattie Lewis holding 'Mr Ted' 
He went missing on Wednesday, September 30

A desperate mum is calling on the residents of Sudbury to help her find a missing teddy bear belonging to her four-year-old daughter.

Call for tightening of UK border controls

Suffolk’s “horrified” Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has demanded EU border control reforms after a convicted paedophile banned from the UK was jailed again for returning to work with teenagers.

Stock image.

Fifteen tonnes of concrete blocks fell out of a lorry after it crashed in a ditch in Suffolk.

Newborn baby

Expectant fathers can now be on hand to comfort their partners during early labour in a move to reduce stress and anxiety for mums-to-be.

Stock image.

A motorist is in a critical condition in hospital after a three-vehicle collision in Suffolk yesterday.

Enjoying the sun at Needham Lake

Dog walkers will have to keep their pets on leads at a popular tourist attraction in Suffolk from next year.

Ice skating could be coming to Felixstowe this Christmas.

Negotiations are taking place to see if an ice skating rink can be set up in Felixstowe town centre as part of the resort’s Christmas attractions.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages