Campaigners warn over beach litter
Thursday 22 March 2012
The number of balloons littering the UK's beaches rose last year, with campaigners warning jubilee and Olympic celebrations could make the problem worse.
Although overall litter levels fell on the UK's beaches between 2010 and 2011, the number of balloons, which can harm wildlife, rose by 8%, according to the Marine Conservation Society's annual beach litter survey.
The MCS also warned of a growing trend for pet owners to bag up dog mess - and then leave it on the beach.
This category increased by 11% between 2010 and 2011 across the UK and by 71% in Scotland, storing up potential health threats to coastal visitors by harbouring bacteria and affecting water quality, the MCS said.
But there was good news in an overall drop of 11% in the amount of litter found during the beachwatch big weekend last September.
Sewage-related debris, which includes sanitary items and cotton buds flushed down the toilet, was down by a third on the previous year, the survey revealed.
Almost 4,500 volunteers took part in the beachwatch big weekend, cleaning 335 beaches over almost 90 miles and collecting more than 2,177 bags of rubbish.
The MCS said litter levels dropped in 2009 from an all-time high in 2008, before rising again in 2010. The charity hopes the latest drop will mark the start of a downward trend.
Despite the reduction in litter discovered, MCS beachwatch officer Lauren David said levels were still too high and raised concerns about balloons.
"With 2012 set to be a year of celebrations from the Queen's Diamond Jubilee to the London Olympics, we really need people to understand why letting go is a bad idea.
"There is clear evidence that balloons harm wildlife in the marine environment and we don't want to see 2012 leave a legacy of littering."
She added: "We're delighted that pet owners enjoy dog friendly beaches and clearly think ahead by carrying poop scoop bags, but we hope our findings will now encourage them to take the bag off the beach and bin it in one of the many receptacles provided for the job."
Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around
Disappearing world: Global warming claims tropical island
Plastic rubbish heaps at sea pose bigger threat to Earth than climate change, claims ocean expert
Silence to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of last ever passenger pigeon
The top 10 weirdest animal mating rituals
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths teachers requir...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Executive Assistant/Event...
£23760 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: The JobAre you a trai...