MCS declares
war on ocean plastic plague

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS)
annual Beachwatch litter survey and clean-up takes place over the
weekend of 15th-16th September 2007. Over 4,000 volunteers are expected
to take part at 364 beaches in the UK’s biggest survey of its kind. The
findings of Beachwatch 2007 will be instrumental in the continuing MCS
campaign against plastic litter.

Of all the
hazardous materials littering our seas today, plastic poses the
greatest threat – it causes death and injury to hundreds of thousands
of seabirds and marine species every year through ingestion
(swallowing) and entanglement. Items of particular danger to marine
wildlife include plastic bags, drink can yokes and fishing nets.

Over the past 14 years, plastic litter has
consistently accounted for well over 50% of all litter found on beaches
during MCS Beachwatch surveys, and the United Nations Environment
Programme recently estimated that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic
litter per square mile of the world’s oceans!

Emma Snowden MCS Litter Projects Officer said, “It’s not too late
to take part, and we need the public’s help to survey more beaches to
tackle the relentless tide of litter threatening our beaches and
wildlife! This is your chance to get involved with the biggest litter
clean-up and survey of beaches all around the UK.” Emma continued, “The
information collected will help MCS tackle the sources of litter and
campaign to reduce the most common items ending up on our beaches and
killing wildlife”.  

Over 4,200
volunteers took part during last year’s MCS Beachwatch 2006 weekend,
cleaning and surveying over 350 beaches and collecting over 3,000 bags
of litter – a clear sign that beach litter is a major issue and is
important to the UK public. The survey recorded an average of 1,989
items per kilometre on UK beaches, which equates to nearly two items
for every metre stretch of beach!
Adopt-a-Beach and Beachwatch are supported by The Crown Estate. Dr
Carolyn Heeps, Head of Policy and Sustainable Development for the
Marine Estate added: “We continue to support Beachwatch because it
demonstrates that just a few hours of volunteer action, over one
weekend, can make a real difference to our understanding of the threats
to marine wildlife from litter”

Beachwatch is
the flagship event of the Marine Conservation Society’s Adopt-a-Beach
project. The results from Beachwatch are published each spring and used
by MCS to campaign against the sources of beach litter at local,
national and international levels. The data collected by Beachwatch
volunteers contributes to a worldwide project, the International
Coastal Clean-up, which takes place in over 80 countries worldwide. MCS
is urging the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution to proceed
with the proposed investigation into the effects of plastic on the
marine environment. The Marine Conservation Society also works with the
Project AWARE Foundation (International) to organise underwater
clean-up events.

To see a list of beaches
taking part in Beachwatch 2007 log onto
and click on the “Beachwatch” button (left hand side of page). To
register as an organiser or a volunteer, register online at:
or call the MCS litter team on 01989 567807.

MCS staff will be organising their own beach cleans

Cramond, Edinburgh, Scotland – Saturday
15th September, 10am, meet at the start of Cramond Causeway
Contact Calum Duncan for more details: – 0131
226 6360

Sand Bay, Somerset, England – Sunday
16th September, 11am, meet at Car park off Sand Road
Sue Kinsey for more details: – 01989 561586

Langland Bay, Swansea, Wales – Saturday 15th
September, 10am, meet at the car park, Langland
Gill Bell for more details: 01989 567807

About the author

Anglers' Net

Pin It on Pinterest