UK Beach Lovers Present A United Front Against Marine Litter
During the week of the 2nd – 8th of November over 3500 beach lovers joined us at 160 beaches for the biggest ever nationwide Autumn Beach Clean Series. Volunteers came together from Cromer to Portrush and the Isle of Skye to Sennen Cove to sweep a staggering 10 TONNES of marine litter from the UK coastline and recycle over 10,000 plastic bottles and cans.
In the face of extremely challenging weather, which at times saw winds of over 50 mph, driving rain and even a landslide at one Cornish beach, the immense effort and passion shown by the community volunteer teams perfectly illustrates the level of commitment that exists across the UK to tackle the marine litter crisis.
The following stats, stories and weird and wonderful discoveries provide a glimpse of what was a truly inspiring Autumn Beach Clean Series.
- 160 Autumn Beach Cleans – All regions in the UK were represented.
- 3500 SAS Volunteers – Including 17 schools, 13 universities and 63 dogs!
- 10 Tonnes – Of litter removed by SAS volunteers
- 10,000 Items Recycled – Including 7146 plastic bottles, 2175 cans and 466 glass bottles
- Weird and Wonderful Items – A passport, a plastic cake, bikini top, printer cartridges, a toilet brush, a suitcase, 100s of toy soldiers, animals, dinosaurs and a marine litter minion toy to name just a few.
- Retro Rubbish – Many ‘Retro Rubbish’ items were discovered including; a Milky Way wrapper from 1989, a Britain’s Ltd toy soldier from 1986 and Coke can from 1986 to name just a few. All of these have been inducted into SAS’s Marine Litter Museum!
- The Usual Suspects – As ever SAS’s volunteers were shocked by the vast numbers of bottle tops, single use plastic bottles, cans and cigarette butts that were found. However it was the many, many thousands of cotton bud sticks (other sewage related debris) discovered at every beach that really saddened volunteers.
- Fireworks – Unfortunately our beaches are blighted each year by a huge amount of fireworks. All volunteers reported large amounts at their beach cleans (all of which was removed).
Circular Economy messaging and a commitment to recycle all suitable* materials was at the very heart of this year’s Autumn Beach Clean Series. This proved to be a huge success with over 10,000 items recycled including; including 7146 plastic bottles, 2175 cans and 466 glass bottles.
The sheer scale of the marine litter crisis can be overwhelming, however each and every one of the 3500 Autumn Beach Clean volunteers have made a difference, helping SAS to protect what we love!
Marine litter is a 365 days a year problem and SAS encourage people to organize their own beach cleans year round. For more details email [email protected] or call 01872 553001.
- 1. United Nations Environment Program http://www.unep.org/regionalseas/marinelitter/about/distribution/
- 2. Plastic Pollution in the World’s Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea. Marcus Eriksen , Laurent C. M. Lebreton, Henry S. Carson, Martin Thiel, Charles J. Moore, Jose C. Borerro, Francois Galgani, Peter G. Ryan, Julia Reisser. Published: December 10, 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111913
- 3. MCS Beach Watch – http://www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch/
- 4. The British Cartographic Society – http://www.cartography.org.uk/default.asp?contentID=749
- 5. Surfers Against Sewage Marine Litter Report (2014) – http://www.sas.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/SAS-Marine-Litter-Report-Med.pdf
- 6. http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy/circular-economy/the-circular-model-an-overview.
I was lucky enough to visit 10 Autumn Beach Cleans this year and whilst I was impressed with the passion of the volunteers and struck by the vast range of ages and backgrounds of those I met, what really made my heart swell was just how much fun everyone was having in spite of some incredibly challenging weather! Our beaches are in safe hands; our coastal communities just need a little help.
Dom Ferris, SAS Projects Manager said;