Belfast Telegraph

Beach litter trebles in just 12 months: survey

By Adrian Rutherford

Litter found on Northern Ireland’s beaches has more than tripled in one year – meaning they are among the untidiest in the UK, according to a new survey.

Over 23,000 pieces of rubbish were collected by 450 volunteers at 23 beaches in Antrim, Down and Londonderry during the Beachwatch Big Weekend organised by the Marine Conservation Society.

The 2011 MCS survey revealed nearly 5,000 pieces of litter per kilometre of shoreline cleaned around Northern Ireland’s coast – a 340% rise compared to the 2010 survey.

It compares unfavourably to the rest of the UK, where litter levels are falling.

Lauren Davis, MCS Beachwatch officer, appealing for more people to take part in this year’s clean-up, said: “In 2010 just eight beaches were cleaned by a dedicated band of about 60 volunteers, but our call for more help in Northern Ireland after last year’s clean-up has really paid off, resulting in a much clearer picture of the state of the province’s beaches.”

The Belfast Telegraph is calling on people to get involved in tackling a litter hotspot this April as part of our Big Spring Clean campaign. We’ve teamed up with Tidy NI and the DoE in a bid to galvanise thousands of people to get our country looking fresh and clean for the summer. For more details visit www.bigspringcleanni.org or call 028 9073 6920.

Factfile

Top five litter items found on UK beaches:

1. Plastic pieces (380 pieces per kilometre)

2. Plastic caps/lids (108 pieces/km)

3. Polystyrene pieces (104 pieces/km)

4. Crisp/sweet/lollipop wrappers (101 pieces/km)

5. String and cord (80 pieces/km)

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