Posted 18th Sep 2014 by Peter Byrne
The Great British Beach Clean kicks off this weekend, encouraging locals to help clean up their beaches and save the marine life that inhabits our shores. We discover the top five beaches that need your help this weekend
Celebrating 21 years of the Beachwatch Big Weekend, the Marine Conservatiion Society (MSC), who works tirelessly to protect our shores and wildlife from threats, has created a special event, the Great British Beach Clean. The event aims to tackle the increasing litter levels on the coast and get communities and individuals involved in a beach cleaning programme to support their local shoreline.
With a substantial amount of litter pollution invading our beaches the threat to marine life is ever present. Seabirds such as the fulmar have been known to consume the plastic pellets that make up the majority of plastic goods, also known as nurdles, that accidentally spill into the sea. The fulmar mistakes these tiny pieces of raw material for their floating plankton food causing internal problems for our feathered friends. While the minke whale, the smallest baleen whale to inhabit UK waters, is highly affected by the amount of plastic bags that have been washed into the sea. In 2002 an autopsy revealed 800g of plastic bags and packaging in the stomach of one whale, proving that the plastic bag problem is a real threat to marine life.
To combat these growing problems the annual Beachwatch Big Clean event asks for volunteers to help clean up our coast, and help prevent unnecessary loss of marine life through litter pollution. Why not have a look at the events happening near you this weekend?
Brighton and Hove A long stretch of pebbled beach, with old iconic piers and captivating new ones, Brighton is a lively town that offers a vibrant atmosphere. However, this popular destination for tourists can regularly be seen with littered beaches, often rubbish left behind by visitors. Surveys carried out by beach goers reveal that fast food containers, drink cans and cigarette stubs are the main culprits, while forgotten beach toys, left after a weekend away or day trip to the seaside, also rank highly as the types of debris found during beach cleanups.
To help clean Ovingdean beach visit the Marine Conservation Soceity website.
Aberdeen North Close to the hustle and bustle of the city but still the picturesque, sandy beach that sees sand mould to your toes as you walk barefoot by the sea, this beach regularly attracts more than 50 volunteers to its waters. The local volunteers have a lot of enthusiasm and passion for the beach despite the debris. Often washed up from Scandinavia and other parts of Europe due to being east facing, the beach is littered with plastic bags, plastic pieces and polystyrene all of which affect local wildlife.
To help clean Aberdeen North visit the Marine Conservation Soceity website.
Jubilee Beach As part of a scheme to improve flood defences in the area, Jubliee Beach, which stretches from Southend Pier to Thorpe Bay, is a mostly shingle beach that has been built up using sand. Though cleaned every summer by the local authority, the beach is loyally cleaned and surveyed each quarter as a variety of plastic litter such as bottle caps, lids and cups are regularly found. You will also find beautiful, natural debris washing up on the beach such as oyster shells, seaweed and even the occasional starfish.
To help clean Jubilee Beach visit the Marine Conservation Soceity website.
Rest Bay Like many beaches in Wales, fishing debris is a significant problem in Rest Bay, with broken net pieces and sections of line washing up on shore on a regular basis. Nestled next to a common land and Glamorgan Heritage Coast, it is perfect for a stroll where you will see rock pools and enjoy the lovely sandy beach that has become a popular surfing destination.
To help clean Rest Bay visit the Marine Conservation Soceity website.
Robin Hood's Bay With impressive cliffs overlooking a sandy beach scattered with rock pools, Robin Hood's Bay is a large but remote spot enjoyed by locals for its surfing and water-sports. However, this stretch of coast is left with a wide variety of rubbish that includes plastic bottles, smaller plastic pieces and fishing line that can mean trapped marine life. Great for fossil hunting, the bay's volunteers regularly try to maintain the high standard of this hidden gem.
To help clean Robin Hood's Bay visit the Marine Conservation Soceity website.
By Lauren Morton
Images courtesy of © Copyright Derek Harper ©Copyright LornaGraham2, ©Copyright Jarzyn, ©Copyright William, ©Copyright Jonathan Billinger and the Marine Conservation Society