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Great British Beach Clean 2017

Friday September 8, 2017
Great British Beach Clean 2017

Photo courtesy of The Marine Conservation Society/ADJ Brown 


Viridian Nutrition is committed to protecting the environment by using green business practices and eco-friendly ingredients. We have minimum packaging for our products, which are all made from recycled or recyclable materials, and introduced the deposit return scheme for our glass bottles,  offering a 25p refund for bottles returned to the health store where purchased. We are pleased to support our friends, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) via our charity donation programme.  We hope you'll be interested to hear about the Great British Beach Clean on 15-18 September. Catherine Gemmell, Scotland Conservation Officer from MCS explains the importance of the charity’s flagship event.


Over the course of the weekend of 15-18 September 2017 thousands of volunteers will head out to beaches across the UK to take part in the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) Great British Beach Clean, the charity's flagship beach cleaning event as part of its Beachwatch programme. This year, MCS is delighted to have support from Waitrose and the event will form part of the Waitrose Beach & River Clean-up.


The clear success story last year was around plastic bags. The number of single use carrier bags we found on our beaches in 2016 almost halved in one year. Wales put a carrier bag charge in place in 2011, followed by Northern Ireland in 2012, Scotland in 2014 and England in 2015. Since then we have seen a 22% decrease overall in carrier bags on the beaches we’ve surveyed. 2016 was the first year that we saw a drop in plastic bag levels in a decade, vindicating the carrier bag charge which is now in place across the whole of the UK.


On the down side we saw increasing trends in the numbers of wet wipes and drinks containers and a huge jump in balloon litter which doubled from 2014. Balloons have been steadily increasing over the last couple of years but showed a steep increase last year and are at their highest in a decade. There is no evidence as yet to suggest why this has happened so we will continue to monitor balloon litter to see if this trend continues. We will also continue our work on our Don’t Let Go campaign which encourages Local Authorities to put in place bans on balloon and lantern releases on their land. 50 have already signed up.


What is Beachwatch?





Beachwatch is the Marine Conservation Society’s UK-wide beach clean and litter survey programme and the Great British Beach Clean is the flagship event. This 'citizen science' project has been running for over 20 years and we have used the beach litter data collected by our volunteers to shape campaigns and influence policy. We now have over 600 active volunteer Beachwatch organisers, arranging surveys on more than 1,400 beaches, who in 22 years have recruited over 100,000 members of the public to take part.


Through the Beachwatch project, local people/groups/companies volunteer to undertake beach cleans and litter surveys of their chosen beach. Each beach has a designated organiser who is provided with a detailed pack via the website or through the post containing information on everything they need to plan and run a Beachwatch event.


We ask the organiser to survey a 100m stretch of the beach and using the survey sheets provided pick up and note down every item of litter in that stretch. When they get home the organiser can upload the data to our database online. The total number of litter items in each material category, total number of bags, weight of litter, length and width of beach surveyed, weather conditions on the day and the number of volunteers are also recorded.


What happens with the data?


The data is analysed by MCS to identify the quantities, types and sources of litter affecting the UK coastline and the impacts of litter on marine life, human health and local economies, providing evidence that can be used to target specific polluters and pollutants at local, national and international levels.


Beachwatch also provides and shares data with a number of organizations from other NGO’s to water companies and academic institutions. We also provide data for the UK’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) beach litter monitoring programme, the International Coastal Cleanup, co-ordinated by the Ocean Conservancy as well as the OSPAR project on Marine Litter and the UK Government. 


Internally the data is used to shape our pollution campaigns such as our successful call for a carrier bag charge and the recent microbead ban, which all aim to stop different types of litter from ever reaching the sea in the first place.


Taking part


With cleans throughout the year there are loads of opportunities for you to look after your beach. However, there are hundreds of events taking place over the GBBC weekend on 15-18 September so why not find one near you and take part!

Further reading/websites: 


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