Beach litter hits record levels
by David Masters
April 16, 2008
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has revealed that the amount of plastic dumped on British beaches is at its highest ever.
Litter is an eyesore and is dangerous to wildlife, yet the level of plastic litter on beaches has increased by 126% since records began in 1994.
MCS’s 2007 Beachwater survey found an average of over 2,000 items of litter for every kilometre of Britain’s beaches.
Plastic is the most common form of litter on beaches, making up 58% of all the rubbish left behind by tourists, holiday-makers, and other beach visitors. The most common types of plastic litter on beaches are plastic bags, drinks bottles and plastic based cigarette butts.
More than 170 species of wildlife are known to have mistaken plastic litter for food, including turtles, sea birds and whales. Eating plastic can result in starvation, fatal stomach blockages and poisoning.
Emma Snowden, the coordinator for MCS litter projects, said she found the results ‘truly shocking’. According to Snowden, the Government and the retail sector need to do more to reduce plastic bag use and packaging.
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