The Marine Conservation Society (mcsuk.org) run Beachwatch, the UK’s biggest beach clean-up and survey - so far they’ve picked up 319 tonnes of litter at Great British Beach Cleans. There are cleans nationwide throughout the year, but the flagship event is on the third weekend in September (this year the 18- 25th). Not only are beaches spruced and tidied, but all the litter found is categorised, recorded and analysed in order to help come up with solutions for preventing more rubbish appearing, and to tackle the sources of marine trash.
Like many events, this year the Great British Beach Clean looks a little different. Rather than encouraging volunteers to find a beach clean happening near them, the charity are calling on individuals to adopt a 100m stretch of beach and organise their own beach cleans, with smaller groups of friends and family.
Lauren Eyles, the Society’s Beachwatch Manager, says ‘Last year, the event recorded over 2,556 bags of rubbish on 340 beaches across the country. Cleaners of all ages got involved, with schools and families lending a hand. It’s a great starter activist activity for kids – the beautiful locations means they won’t get bored, and litter-picking is easy for even toddlers to take on (be sure they follow the very simple safety guidelines). It’s a good lesson in responsibility and environmental awareness as well as being a fun day out.’
More sea-based action with which you can get involved
SURFERS AGAINST SEWAGE
Decidedly unchilled surfers, SAS target marine litter, sewage pollution, climate change and coastal development. Get involved in their beach cleans, report pollution and any sicknesses you have after swimming in dirty waters. sas.org.uk
A more radical, direct action group that campaigns worldwide for ocean conservation. They confront illegal fishing boats directly, document evidence of law-breaking, and have a super-cool logo. You’ll spot it on surfer hoodies, seaside skateboarder beanies and punk stickers this summer. seashepherduk.org
The daddy of environmental charities, this summer Greenpeace is running campaigns to ban microbeads in cosmetics (they’re very damaging to the fragile ocean ecosystem), and for Sainsbury’s to drop John West tuna (caught using destructive fishing methods). greenpeace.org.uk
THE BLACK FISH
The Black Fish runs 28 projects in 12 European countries, using modern technology and citizen inspectors to enforce environmental regulations. Sign up to become one of their eyes on the sands and make an immediate difference to your patch of coastline. theblackfish.org