The Great British Beach Clean 


Author: Lauren Jones-Mullins, wildlife ecologist & beachwatch administrator at Marine Conservation Society

What do you think of when you hear the words ‘marine litter’? Rolling waves of plastic? Vast islands of waste in the middle of the ocean? Wildlife tangled in fishing net and eating plastic bags? Shocking images of the extent of pollution around the world have been brought into the public eye through Blue Planet 2, National Geographic, and even the Octonauts - but the reality is much closer to home. 

It’s estimated that every minute, one rubbish truck’s worth of plastic makes its way into our ocean - equating to thousands of millions of tonnes per year.

At the Marine Conservation Society, we’re fighting for a cleaner, better-protected, and healthier ocean: one we can all enjoy. We work with governments and industry to highlight the importance of our seas and campaign for change to protect and restore them, whilst working closely with local communities to inspire and empower them to take positive action for our ocean. 

Every year, we run our flagship litter-picking event, the Great British Beach Clean, to help clean up our coastline and collect vital data about the marine litter found there. Thousands of volunteers across the UK take part in this citizen science event, contributing information about marine litter which we use to campaign for ocean-positive change. The data from these beach cleans has helped us successfully campaign for the introduction of charges on single-use plastic bags and a ban on a variety of single-use plastic items, such as plastic cotton bud sticks.

This year, we’ll be collecting our 30th year of Great British Beach Clean litter survey data! We are once again being joined by the event’s sponsors, Cully & Sully, who share our passion for protecting our ocean. 

Here are a few ways you can help to support your local community to join the Great British Beach Clean between 15th – 24th September:

  1. Spread the word about beach cleans that have already been organised: this could be through word-of-mouth, social media, newsletters or emails – however you get your community’s news out there!  Check to see if there’s a beach clean taking place in your area here
  1. Use our comms toolkit spread the word about cleans going on in your local area.  
  1. Attend an event: who doesn’t love a day at the beach? By attending a beach clean event that’s already been organised in your community, you’ll be supporting the vital work of the Marine Conservation Society to keep your local beaches clean and tidy for future generations.
  1. Organise your own event: you can also organise your very own clean event! We have lots of helpful guides and resources to help you run your clean, and our Beachwatch Team are always on hand if you have any questions!  Find out more here.

Our beaches are beautiful places to make lasting memories: vast shorelines with shells of all shapes and sizes, rock pools filled with critters great and small, seas with a huge range of exciting species. But our picture postcard beaches are under an ever-increasing threat, which we need your help to tackle. 

Will you join us for this year’s Great British Beach Clean to help remove litter from our beaches and make a real difference to our ocean?

The following blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered professional or legal advice. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Association of Local Councils. Any links to external sources included in this blog post are provided for convenience and do not constitute endorsement or approval of those websites' content, products, services, or policies. Therefore, readers should use discretion and judgment when applying the information to their circumstances. Finally, this blog post may be updated or revised without notice.

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