There are two pieces of litter for every footstep you take on a beach. That’s the scary new statistics released by the National Trust. The tide of litter on Britain’s beaches appears to be on the increase, quantities of litter on UK beaches have more than doubled since 1994, and plastic now accounts for over 70% of all litter. Not only can litter be a health hazard to visitors and off-putting to tourists, but it’s also estimated that over 100,000 marine animals die every year from entanglement or ingestion of items discarded on our beaches or at sea.
Each year, a series of National Trust beach cleans take place helping to fight this tide of litter and they are asking for volunteers to dress down, get dirty and help clean beaches in the South West, as they take part in The Great British Spring Clean, run by Keep Britain Tidy.
The Great British Spring Clean, which runs from 2oth March – 23rd April 2020 is calling on #LitterHeroes across the country to help improve the environment on their doorstep. The aim is to inspire 600,000 people to join forces to collect and safely dispose of litter from our streets, parks and beaches, recycling as much as possible.
People of all ages and abilities can get involved in National Trust Beach Cleans; all that’s needed are volunteers willing to turn out at their local beach, have some fun and help get the beach ready to welcome visitors for the start of the season.
National Trust Coast Director, Nick Lawrence, said: “Not only do beach cleans help to improve the coastal habitat for plants and animals but they are also great fun and suitable for all the family to take part in, you don’t need to book, just turn up! You’ll also be doing your bit to ensure that the beaches you love and we care for are clean. As a charity, it costs us £3,000 to look after each mile of coast year – that is £1 million pounds a year just to look after the 300 miles of coastline we care for in the South West.”
The coast in the South West is visited and enjoyed every year by more than 22 million people with 63% of people regarding visiting the seaside or coast as important to their quality of life, but the future ongoing protection of these places is essential if Britain’s coast is to remain beautiful and accessible for future generations.
Image: Beach clean at Studland Bay, Dorset. National Trust Images, Martin Franks.