BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 26 Aug '18

Charities warn of rubbish risks on Britain’s coast this Bank Holiday weekend – follow these tips to help minimise litter

With millions heading to the coast this Bank Holiday weekend, beachgoers are being urged to take their rubbish home to save our seaside resorts and coastal beauty spots from turning into dumping grounds.

How much litter is on our beaches?

During the 2017 Great British Beach Clean, run by the Marine Conservation Society, volunteer beach cleaners found on average 138 pieces of ‘on the go’ litter for every 100 metres of beaches cleaned and surveyed.

With visitor numbers set to rocket this Bank Holiday weekend, it’s likely that these numbers will increase, putting pressure on the beach environment and marine wildlife.

A recent YouGov survey for Keep Britain Tidy’s #StillLittering campaign showed that more than one in four people admitted to littering ‘carefully’ – leaving packaging behind when eating or drinking on the go.

‘In the past few decades we have become a society that consumes on the go, with all the packaging that goes along with it. If you buy something – be it a packet of crisps or a bottle of water – you buy the packaging as well and it is your responsibility to dispose of that packaging appropriately by recycling it or putting it in the bin. There are no exceptions to this, especially on the beach where the marine environment is just metres away.’

ALLISON OGDEN-NEWTON
CEO at Keep Britain Tidy

How to cut down on litter

Various organisations say more can always be done to reduce the impact of pollution on our beaches and bathing waters. Since 2013, they’ve been working together to raise awareness of the issue under the banner of #binit4beaches.

The Environment Agency, Defra and a range of organisations including the water sector, Keep Britain Tidy, Marine Conservation Society, Surfers Against Sewage and others are urging beachgoers to #binit4beaches and follow these simple steps:

  • Reduce the amount of rubbish taken to the beach by switching from single-use plastics and packaging to reusable containers and bottles.
  • Always remove your rubbish from the beach, and make sure litter is properly secured in bins to ensure it can’t be blown away.
  • If the bins are full, take rubbish home and recycle it. Litter beside the bin is hazardous to wildlife and can easily be blown into the sea.

With 92% of England’s 380 bathing waters rated as either ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ for water quality, and 150 of those beaches holding an excellence award such as a Blue Flag, it’s no surprise that we are all flocking to the coast to enjoy our leisure time.

By being responsible with our litter, we can help to protect our vital marine environment and leave the beach a tidier and safer place for everyone to enjoy.