Help clean our beaches in upcoming pollution-fighting events

Eastbourne Big Beach clean up (Photo by Jon Rigby)
Eastbourne Big Beach clean up (Photo by Jon Rigby)

Ever wanted to do something about our oceans being filled with plastic rubbish?

Every year The Marine Conservation charity organises a massive beach rubbish-recording operation. Thousands of volunteers take to our seafront, pick up and record every last tiny piece of plastic.

Then all figures across the country are accumulated and the public can get a picture of what is being deposited on our beaches around Britain, and damaging ocean life.

The charity is calling on members of the public to take part in its Great British Beach Clean weekend.

Volunteers assemble for huge beach clean

Beaches where the event will be taking place in and around Eastbourne include:

• Holywell, Eastbourne: 10am on September 14

• Birling Gap: 10am on September 15

• Brighton: 11am on September 15

• Ovingdean: 10am on September 16

• Peacehaven: 10.30am on September 16

• Rottingdean: 1pm on September 16

• Pett Level, Hastings: 10am on September 17

Choose one of the beaches and sign up for the clean on the MCS website. Each clean takes around two hours and clip boards, bin liners, gloves, and litter-picking grabs are provided.

The biggest offenders often found on beaches include those left by the public (packaging and disposable cutlery) – 55 per cent; fishing (cut up nets, angling lines)– 20 per cent; and sewage (wet wipes, cotton buds) – 15 per cent.

When the statistics are gathered the MCS uses them to create change, targetting organisations responsible. This includes the Government, local councils, the fishing industry, manufacturers, and water companies – MCS was behind the ‘bin it don’t flush it’ campaign.

Dolphins spotted off the coast

Local MCS spokesperson Jill Goulder said, “Filling in all those details sounds a pain, but doing it ‘live’ makes it huge fun – you’re with friends or new people you’ve just met, and the pickers are rushing back to the recorder with their finds and you’re puzzling together about what some mysterious object is or goggling at some amazing ones, or giggling at for example the socks commonly found on Rottingdean beach (apparently Brightonians go skinny-dipping there at night and can then find most of their clothes but not their socks).

“A beach can look pretty clean, but you’ll be amazed how many tiny bits of plastic (lethal to wildlife) lurk there; and you find huge pieces of industrial components, and packaging from Holland or France.”

The charity said, “The Great British Beach Clean is the biggest beach-clean and survey in the UK. The information our volunteers have collected over the last 25 years has helped make some of the most significant impacts on beach litter ever – the plastic bag charge, microplastics banned in personal care products, better wetwipe labelling, and massive support for a tax on ‘on the go’ plastic single use items.”