Scrub up your beach !

Just when most people are thinking about leaving the beach behind for another year, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is urging people to get back out there and do a bit of cleaning !

The annual MCS Beachwatch Big Weekend is held during the third weekend of September and sees thousands of volunteers heading to the coastline to help not just pick up litter, but record what they find too.

But why bother? After all what you find on a beach today may not be there tomorrow – swept away by the unpredictable tides. Why waste all that effort.

Well here’s why. Two years ago MCS volunteers found increased amounts of Sewage Related Debris on UK beaches….that’s the stuff people put down their loos but shouldn’t, like condoms, nappies and sanitary products – yes, people actually do that! It’s called SRD for short and there it was, in increasing amounts on British beaches.

Now does that trip to the beach seem a little less appealing? Just what are your children crawling about it in ? What exactly was that you felt between your toes ?

Well, after MCS highlighted the issue in the UK’s media, by the following year the amount of SRD on UK beaches had dropped. A year later MCS Beachcleaners  found an increase in the number of dog poo bags on beaches….filled with poo….but which had failed to reach the correct bin. So all this fossilised faeces was there on our beaches. Again, intense media interest and coverage across most of the country, led to a drop in the number of bags found the following year.

And the people that gathered that information that really made a difference ?  MCS Beachwatch volunteers.

So a trip to the beach in September may not be a lost cause….in fact it could be the most worthwhile trip you’ve taken for some time, enjoying everything there is to enjoy on the beach whilst giving it a clean up at the same time and possibly making a real difference to the future.

Join this year’s Beachwatch Big Weekend at www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch

21st – 23rd September 2013 – it only takes a couple of hours to make a world of difference.

Lauren Eyles

Marine Conservation Society’s Beachwatch Officer

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