Surfers Against Sewage report their biggest ever Autumn beach & river clean

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Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol, United Kingdom. Photo © Alex Casado

21,000 volunteers clear 36 tonnes of plastic pollution from beaches and rivers in UK’s biggest ever Autumn plastic clean up

 

  • Beach and River Clean organisers Surfers Against Sewage say that the increased awareness of plastic pollution amongst the public led to 100 more cleans than the same time last year, 26% over previous record.
  • More than 27,600 single-use drinks containers of all different sizes were monitored and recycled during the clean, collecting invaluable data for Surfers Against Sewage to share with the Government in a consultation on a new Deposit Return Scheme for all plastic drinks bottles.
  • Over 21,200 volunteers of all ages took part in cleans at over 487 beaches, river banks and lakes across the UK to remove a staggering 35.9 tonnes of marine plastic pollution, the equivalent of 8,991 full bin bags.
  • 73,454 volunteer hours were donated across the Autumn Beach and River Clean.
  • The cleans occurred just after Storm Callum battered the UK leaving our coastline covered in plastic waste.

As the weather changed, the nights began to draw in and the summers warmth became a distant memory, Surfers Against Sewage’s intrepid army of volunteers descended on the beaches and waterways across the UK for the biggest Autumn Beach and River Clean ever in their history.

This mass community mobilisation was in answer to the call issued by SAS in light of the plastic pollution found on our shorelines, made worse by recent storms.

SAS is a national marine conservation and campaigning charity that inspires, unites and empowers communities to take action to protect oceans, beaches, waves and wildlife.

SAS’s Director of Campaigns and Projects, Ben Hewitt says: “We can make sure we don’t choke our streets, parks and playgrounds with plastic pollution. Because if it’s on our street today, then it’s in our rivers tomorrow, and our beaches and oceans forever. We can make sure each of us understands that we can change this, whoever we are and wherever we live. But we can only do all of this together.

Scarborough, North Yorkshire. Photo © Lewis Arnold

We’re part of a community network across the UK that’s tackling single-use plastic from the beach, all the way back to the brands and businesses who create it.”

Ben Hewitt continued: “Thanks to the surge in awareness around plastic pollution, we were able to call on communities across the UK and were absolutely blown away by the response. These Citizen Scientists not only donated more than 73,454 volunteer hours but helped us collect a data set that will form an integral part of our campaign for new plastic bottle Deposit Return Scheme in the UK for ALL the different plastic drinks containers that we have found on our beaches.”

More at https://www.sas.org.uk/plastic-free-communities/

Single Use Bottle. Photo © Lewis Arnold