Volunteers are required to put the UK in the Top 10 participating countries for the 20th anniversary of this international event – the International Coastal Clean-Up (ICC), organised by the Ocean Conservancy in the USA, in which 97 countries participated last year, involving more than half a million volunteers who covered a distance of nearly 18,000 miles.
For a second year in a row, the Beachwatch Big Weekend revealed a plastic plague on our shores, and despite 2012 being the wettest summer on record, plenty of people still managed to drop crisps and sweet wrappers on their trip to the beach. With the amazing summer we have been experiencing so far this year, the worry is the amount of rubbish that will have made its way into the marine environment as a result. However, a continuing piece of good news to come out of last year’s event is that the campaigns telling people to stop using their loos as bins are working as so-called sewage related debris has dropped out of the top 10 litter items, which is a fantastic result! Let’s hope it doesn’t make a reappearance this year…
Almost 3,500 volunteers took part in the Beachwatch Big Weekend 2012 in the UK, removing almost 182,00 items of litter from 90km of the UK coastline and estuary foreshores. Suffolk is continuing to be one of the leading counties in the country, which was an amazing achievement! The BT adopted ‘beach’ estuary at Trimley St Mary has been one of the largest in the county, if not the UK, thanks to the amazing support from Orwell District scouts, BT volunteers, family and friends.
The purpose of Beachwatch is not just to clean beaches. The litter collected from 100m of beach is also surveyed and recorded. This enables MCS to identify the sources and target the main offenders, with the aim of reducing the pollution in our seas and on our beaches. Discarded marine litter – some of which is dangerous as well as unsightly – kills thousands of seabirds, mammals and turtles every year, and detrimentally affects thousands more. The overall hope is that our marine environment will be a safer place for the wildlife that lives there, and a more enjoyable place for us to visit.