Record levels of plastic litter on beaches

A A A

Litter on beaches has risen by 82 per cent in the past decade, according to the Marine Conservation Society.

Litter on beaches has risen by 82 per cent in the past decade, according to the Marine Conservation Society.

The society's Beachwatch 2004 survey found an average of one piece of litter every 20in (half a metre) of beach they examined.

Overall the amount of litter dipped from 2,075 items per kilometre surveyed in 2003 to 1,897 items per kilometre, but this was still almost twice as high as 10 years ago. And the survey found more plastic on the shore than at any time since Beachwatch started in 1993.

Plastic litter accounted for almost 60 per cent of all litter found, with an average of 1,106 plastic items per kilometre.

Plastic nets and bags can entangle and drown marine animals, while small plastic pieces can be swallowed by animals such as turtles and whales, which may then starve.

Recent work has shown that large plastic items may eventually break down into microscopic pieces, which are eaten by marine life such as barnacles and lugworms.

A total of 3,093 volunteers cleaned and surveyed 269 beaches around Britain's coast in September last year - the country's biggest annual beach clean and litter survey.

Andrea Crump, of the Marine Conservation Society, said: "This year more beaches were cleaned and surveyed than during any other Beachwatch survey. This is an indication of the high level of public concern about the impacts of litter on our beaches."

A recent government report using Beachwatch data concluded that the amount of beach litter was unacceptable.

The Environment minister Elliot Morley said: "Litter left on the beach or washed up on shore is an eyesore and not only affects our tourist trade, but can have fatal consequences for much of our marine life. So please take your rubbish back home with you and ensure that on your next visit it is only sand that squeezes through your toes and not something else."

The Government's recent Charting Progress report, which assessed the current state of the UK's coast, acknowledges that Beachwatch "provides the only long-term database" for beach litter in the country.

The report stated: "The current levels of beach litter are high," and "marine litter remains a problem for coastal communities and the marine environment".

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
football
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Systems Administrator (SharePoint) - Central London - £36,500

£35000 - £36500 per annum: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator (SharePoint) -...

Biology Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: We are currently recruiting...

.NET Developer / Web Developer / Software Developer - £37,000

£30000 - £37000 per annum + attractive benefits: Ashdown Group: .NET Developer...

Biology Teacher

Main Pay Scale : Randstad Education Leeds: Biology Teacher to A Level - Female...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering