Help clean Suffolk & Essex’s beaches this September

A photo of two women and a boy collecting litter from Felixstowe Beach

The Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is inviting anyone with a passion for the environment or volunteering to join us to help clean the area’s iconic beaches!

Every September thousands of people take to the beach all over the UK as part of the Great British Beach Clean, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS)’s annual week-long citizen science event, where hundreds of beach cleans take place.

Not only does litter spoil the scenery, it is also very dangerous for people and wildlife. Animals such as whales, turtles, fish, and seabirds frequently become entangled in marine litter, and many sadly die as a result.

This year’s Great British Beach Clean will take place between Friday 17th – Sunday 26th September 2021 and the Coast & Heaths AONB will be holding a beach clean in the Bawdsey area for registered volunteers on Friday 24th September from 9:30am until noon.

Everyone is welcome to take part, but please register as a volunteer first by completing the registration form. Volunteers will be provided with all the necessary equipment, apart from gloves.

If you are unable to make the date or would rather join a beach clean at a different location, simply visit www.mcsuk.org to see other cleans taking place in the area including Felixstowe and Pakefield. Alternatively, you can organise your own event! This can be done online at the MCS website or by phone on 01989 566017.

The Coast & Heaths AONB team can offer advice on possible locations, loan litter picking equipment and any other provide support to make your event a success. For more information, please contact Neil Lister, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Countryside Projects Officer, 01394 445218 orschaonb@suffolk.gov.uk.

On every clean people work alone or in pairs and record all the items of rubbish they find in a 100-metre stretch of beach. The information is then sent to MCS who analyse the data, act against the worst marine pollution offenders and lobby for changes in legislation, such as the introduction of the plastic bag levy in England in 2015.

Last year, the top ten most found and removed items of litter on beaches in the Coast & Heaths AONB were:

  1. Plastic / Polystyrene Pieces (0-50cm) – 2,815 items found
  2. Packets: crisp/sweet/ lolly / sandwich – 579 items found
  3. Cigarette stubs – 561 items found
  4. Plastic caps / lids – 257 items found
  5. Cotton bud sticks – 228 items found
  6. String – 162 items found
  7. Drink Cans – 150 items found
  8. Food containers – 126 items found
  9. Fishing line – 117 items found
  10. Bag ends – 106 items found

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