More litter on region's beaches

THE amount of litter dumped on the region's beaches has gone up, a new survey has revealed.

Elliot Furniss

THE amount of litter dumped on the region's beaches has gone up, a new survey has revealed.

More than 560 beaches covering 35km of Suffolk and Essex coastline were examined and swept clean as part of a national study carried out by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

The organisation's Beachwatch 2008 report is published today and shows that across the south east region more than 118,000 pieces of rubbish were left on the 114 beaches examined.

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Emma Snowden, MCS litter projects co-ordinator, said that whether people lived near the coast or miles inland, they were all connected to the sea.

She said: “This is a man-made problem. Every piece of litter has an owner and we all need to take responsibility to not drop litter in the first place.

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“MCS wants to see zero waste on Britain's beaches and our first goal is to halve the litter on Britain's beaches by 2015, but in order to achieve this we need to appoint lead agencies with the specific responsibility to stop marine litter and develop a marine action plan now.”

The society is urging members of the public to sign its petition calling for a Government action plan on marine litter.

Overall, 385,659 items of rubbish were removed from beaches around the UK, including plastic bags, cigarette butts, fishing nets and food containers.

The average amount of litter found was 2,195 items per km - more than two pieces for every three feet of beach.

This national snapshot reveals that the volume of litter has more than doubled since the first MCs survey in 1994.

Although the south east figures were below the national average, the amount of litter was still up by more than 5% from 2007.

Public litter accounted for more than 40% of the rubbish dropped while fishing litter was the next highest category.

Sewage related debris and shipping waste constituted the remainder of the rubbish counted.

Ms Snowden added: “A record number of 5,219 volunteers took part in Beachwatch 2008 showing the high level of public concern but we need thousands more people to join MCS and help with Beachwatch 2009.

“In order to turn the tide on marine litter we need the public to continue showing their support.”

For more information about the MCS or to sign its petition calling for a Government Action Plan, visit

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