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Beachwatch Big Weekend 2012

Written by Laura Wharton on

Coordinated by the Marine Conservation Society, the Beachwatch Big Weekend is an event attracting thousands of volunteers, who are all passionate about keeping our beaches and seas free of litter.

Now in its 19th year, the 2012 Beachwatch Big Weekend is taking place between the 14th-17th September 2012.  Staff at Suffolk Secrets have organised their own clean up and will be picking up litter on a designated stretch of beach, north of Southwold Pier, on the 17th September.

Marine and beach litter kills wildlife, looks disgusting and is a health hazard. Seabirds mistake floating plastic litter for food and the occurrence of coloured plastic waste amongst remaining carcasses, suggests that thousands of seabirds are ingesting large quantities of plastic, contributing to their deaths. Other marine species get entangled in waste, with many turtles mistaking plastic bags for jellyfish.  

Once they have ingested the plastic bag, it blocks their stomachs, often leading to death from starvation. You can help prevent this unnecessary destruction of our wildlife and environment, by always binning your litter and by getting involved with a local Beachwatch clean up. Volunteers make a record of all items of litter found during each Big Weekend clean up, and the results are collated by the Marine Conservation Society. Results of the 2011 national survey indicated that the number of plastic bottles found on our beaches in the last 10 years has increased by 33%. It also established that there was an 11% increase in the number of poop scoop bags found on our beaches. Although it is great that people are bagging the waste from their pet, the plastic bag itself may take decades to break down and the contents become fossilised faeces. Therefore, the poop scoop bags need to be binned appropriately.

Other, rather surprising items found during the 2011 event included:- a plastic skeleton a life-size fake donkey a portable toilet a live rocket parachute flare a Smartie tube lid dating back to the 1970’s a bicycle  two glasses and half a bottle of Champagne. If you’d like to get involved in a Beachwatch Big Weekend event, clean ups have been organised at Aldeburgh, Orford, Dunwich and other Suffolk Coastal locations.  For further details visit: Beachwatch Big Weekend Events.

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Laura Wharton

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