The Great British Beach Clean

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The Marine Conservation Society’s annual Great British Beach Clean will be running from 17th – 26th September 2021.

Why is this so important?

As we all know, humans are creating huge amounts of litter which is polluting the environment. Lots of the litter ends up on our coasts, not only making it unpleasant to look at, but it’s also extremely damaging to wildlife!

However, we can all do our part to help clean up the coasts and make a difference. One way to do this is by taking part in the Great British Beach Clean this year.

Collecting vital data

The annual event encourages the whole of the UK to get out and clean our coastlines, as well as to collect data on what the biggest pollutants are! By knowing this, we are able to track exactly what is going wrong, and what we can do to reduce our impact.

For example, since the introduction of the 5p carrier bag charge in Wales in 2011 (and across the rest of the UK since), the Marine Conservation Society reports a 55% drop in the single-use bags found on beaches across the UK. YAY!

“Not only do volunteers help keep the UK’s beaches beautiful and litter-free, they collect vital data on what’s polluting our environment. We’ve used data collected in the past to campaign for carrier bag charges and single-use plastic bans, all of which have led to a reduction in litter on our beaches. ”

Lizzie Prior, Beachwatch Officer at the Marine Conservation Society

How can I be involved?

As well as cleaning up our coasts, the Marine Conservation Society are also asking for volunteers to collect data which will contribute to a global database of litter information. All you need to do is download the survey form, grab some gloves and a litter picker (if you have one), and head outside!

To sign up for a beach clean, or set up your own, visit the Marine Conservation Society’s website.

Where are my local beaches?

As much as beach clean ups are so important wherever you choose to help, it’s always great to give back to your local community. Some local beaches to Cardiff include:

  • Splott Beach, Rover Way, Cardiff, CF24 5SD
  • Penarth Beach, The Esplanade, Penarth, CF64 3AU
  • Whitmore Bay Beach, Barry Island, CF62 5BQ 

I can’t get to the coast! What can I do?

The problem with litter doesn’t just start and end on the coast – there’s a whole journey for it to get there. This means that even if you can’t get to your local coastline, you can still take part in the Great British Beach Clean.

The Marine Society’s Source to Sea Litter Quest is an inland version of the data collection form highlights some of the most common litter items found on the coast. For example, during the Great British Beach Clean 2020, PPE litter such as face masks and gloves were found on nearly 30% of beaches!

To get involved, just use the survey form and see if you can spot these litter items in your local area (and pick them up along the way, of course).

For more information on taking part inland, click here.

Related Information

Here’s what you can do to reduce the plastic problem.

Not sure where to start with litter picking? Check out our top litter picking tips here.

Climate change is scary. Here’s how to battle your eco-anxiety.

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