CHIEFS at the UK’s leading marine charity are calling on the public to Keep It Clean and Take It Home as huge swathes of litter pollute outdoor spaces across the country.
The Marine Conservation Society have revealed that beaches, parks and public spaces are suffering the scourge of litter and single-use plastic, from cups to gloves, takeaway food containers and face masks.
It’s easy to think that litter on land has no role to play at sea, whereas in fact, 80% of ocean litter comes from land. In a recent survey, 63% of those asked were very or extremely concerned about marine plastic pollution and 61% were very concerned about the health of our oceans. The concern for the health of our ocean must be echoed in our actions on land, whether on the beach, in a park or strolling down our local high street.
Almost a third (30.4%) of all litter found across the UK’s beaches over the Great British Beach Clean was from the public, whether left on the beaches, blown in off the street or carried by waterways to the coast. The top ten most prolific items included cigarette stubs (42.6 per 100m); crisp, sweet and sandwich packets (30.9 per 100m); caps and lids (20.4 per 100m); alongside plastic or polystyrene pieces (143 per 100m). Meanwhile, ‘on-the-go’ convenience packaging is amongst the most common types of litter, and one which could be easily avoided.
Dr Laura Foster, Head of Clean Seas said: “Surveys have consistently shown that the UK public care about the fate of our ocean, are concerned about plastic pollution and want to see the health of the environment at the heart of the strategy for recovering from Coronavirus. So many of us realised how much being outdoors helped our physical and mental wellbeing during lockdown, and while most people are being responsible we need to ensure the few don’t spoil it for the many. The increase of litter across the country shows standards are slipping. Each and every one of us has a responsibility to clean up after ourselves.”
Lizzie Prior, Beachwatch Officer added: “There’s no doubt that the pictures of litter on beaches across the UK from this past few weeks are the worst I have ever seen, yet the awareness of marine pollution is the highest I have ever known. We know the impact litter, particularly plastic, has on our marine environment so please remember, wherever you go, take your litter home”
For more information on the charity’s Clean Seas work, visit www.mcsuk.org