The amount of litter found on British beaches last year has soared with a huge increase in the amount of toilet waste turning up.
Rubbish levels on our golden sands were at a record high in 2008, but fell in 2009 before rocketing again last year by 6%. The weekend survey took place on September 18th and 19th 2010 with 330,107 items collected along 104 miles of coastline, that’s an average of 3,000 pieces of litter in every mile.
Volunteers cleaned up 376 beaches throughout England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands and managed to fill a staggering 3,000 bags with rubbish.
Topping the list of items found were bits of plastic, rope, cord, string, caps and lids, plus crisp, sweet and lolly wrappers. The number of waste sanitary products, cotton buds and condoms rose on average last year by 40% across all beaches, with northern beaches increasing by a staggering 230% since 2009 and in Wales by 110% in the same period.
Lauren Davis of the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) claims that people have a habit of flushing things down the toilet in an ‘out of sight out of mind’ attitude. She stated “Sewerage networks and waste water treatment works are not specifically designed to remove these sort of items and, unfortunately, more and more are winding up on our rivers and on our beaches.”
The MSC have called on the help of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to develop a plan to try to stop littering on the beaches of Britain. The Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries, Richard Benyon is also keen to help stating “It’s vital that we tackle marine litter in our efforts to ensure that our seas are clean, healthy and safe.” He added that the government were working with the MCS and concluded “Government, fishermen, the public, businesses and voluntary organisations all have a shared goal for making a difference on litter and to encourage responsible behaviour to protect the marine environment.”