Volunteers to tackle beach litter menace

National Trust Great British Beach Clean
Published : 02 Mar 2017 Last update : 03 Mar 2017

Dozens of volunteers will join our rangers to clean litter from beaches across the country this weekend.

The beach cleans, which will take place at four beaches in Cornwall, Pembrokeshire and Suffolk, have been organised as part of Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Spring Clean series.

At Porthlysgi, Pembrokeshire, volunteers will descend on a remote rocky cove noted for its shipwrecks this Friday. 

‘I don’t know if it’s because of the currents, but we get a huge amount of plastic bottles washing up at Porthlysgi,’ explained Phil Sadler, coastal activity ranger. 

‘In just three beach cleans last year we loaded 13 cubic metres of plastic rubbish onto our Land Rover.’ 

The clean at the Pembrokeshire beach has been organised with charity Keep Wales Tidy and is open to anyone. 

‘Just turn up,’ adds Phil. 

Beach clean
A beach clean at Bossington beach
Beach clean

Growing problem

Rangers and volunteers spend hundreds of days collecting litter from beaches and coves every year – and the challenge has been growing. 

Sue Wells, our Marine Project Manager, says: ‘The amount of plastic on Britain’s beaches has more than doubled in the last 15 years. Whether it’s wet wipes flushed down toilets or waste blown from council tips, all this rubbish ends up in our oceans. 

‘As marine conservationists, we have been slow to realise the impacts of all this litter on coastal wildlife. Birds, fish, whales and dolphins may eat it or get entangled in it. 

‘With micro-plastic beads being used in everyday products from toothpaste to shampoo, plastic is being found in the guts of more and more marine species.’

Beachcombing to beach cleaning

We are doing our bit to reducing the amount of plastics we use. All the products we sell through our shops are completely free of plastic micro-beads.

Sue adds: ‘When I was growing up I’d go beachcombing with my father, looking for pieces of rope and prized fishing line. 

 ‘But people don’t go beachcombing anymore. They go to beach clean.’ 

Beach cleans in Cornwall and Devon

We need your help keeping beaches clean, beautiful and places to be enjoyed by the whole family.