The World Daily
Litter decreasing along beaches

Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash 


By Patryk Krych | The World Daily | NOVEMBER 26th 2021 


According to a recent clean-up survey, the amount of litter washing up along beaches is decreasing annually, but the majority of shore-found litter is still largely made up of plastics.

The research, which has suggested that at least three quarters of the litter that washes up on beaches in Britain is made up of plastics, has prompted conservationists to urge for more action against the production of plastic waste. With the results being found in Britain, many are curious as to how the numbers may look on a worldwide scale.

The data comes as a result of the 2021 Great British Beach Clean, organised by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and having found that there was only 385 pieces of litter for every 100 metres of beach on average in 2021, which is down from an average of 425 pieces of litter in 2020, and 558 in 2019 – revealing a gradual decrease.

6,000 volunteers worked to help clear at least five tonnes of litter from 55 kilometers of UK beaches between 17 and 26 of September. Plastic and polystyrene were the two most common items found during this clean-up, having reportedly made up around 75% of all the findings.

“The UK governments’ current piecemeal approach to single-use plastics policy just won’t cut it any more,” said Dr Laura Foster, the head of clean seas at the MCS. “While we’re seeing a downward trend in litter on beaches, we’re still seeing huge volumes of plastic washing up on our shores. Comprehensive and ambitious single-use plastics policies are the quickest way of phasing out plastic from our environment.”

Cotton buds had previously been among the most common litter found along beaches in the UK, but since the ban in Scotland in 2019, and in England in 2020, they had dropped out of the top 10 most common litter types in the UK this year. A ban that many are hoping may soon be seen on a more worldwide scale.


“We’re pleased to see the amount of litter being found on our beaches dropping and the positive impact of our policies such as the single-use carrier bag charge,” said a spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, adding that: “However we know there is more to be done.”

It’s been suggested that the gradual decrease in washed-up litter was largely due to the pandemic, and the changes in trends that had occurred during that time. A lot of the found plastics were PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as face masks.

“The ongoing downward trend we're seeing in litter levels on UK beaches is a positive sign that the actions we're taking at a personal, local and national level are working,” said beachwatch manager at the MCS, Lizzie Prior. “But we can't sit back and relax, now is the time for even more ambitious action.”

She added: “There were changes in lunchtime eating habits, with fewer people in the office and therefore a reduction in single-use lunchtime plastic. But some of the downward trends, such as plastic bags, were occurring before the pandemic.”


By Patryk Krych | © The World Daily 2021 

Source: The Guardian, Sky News