In May, we'll be teaming up with Marine Conservation Society and the Canal & River Trust to clean up 90 beaches and 45 canals around the UK – why not come along and join us?
The UK's beautiful coastline is at the heart of many happy days out and cherished childhood memories, but MCS has found that litter on British beaches rose by 6.4% last year and reported a 50% rise in the number of wet wipes found on beaches in 2014 compared to the previous year. For the past three years, M&S has been working with MCS to organise an annual clean-up of the country's beaches. As well as keeping our coastline looking its best, the big beach clean-up – taking place this year from 7 May to 13 May – helps preserve sea life at risk of ingesting plastic rubbish.
Last year's event was a huge success, with 8,000 volunteers helping to clear litter from beaches and canals up and down the country – covering a total distance of around 250km. Participants collected over 25 tonnes of litter, including cans, wrappers, bottles, false teeth, a hammer, a breast implant and an Action Man! According to Samantha Fanshawe, MCS Chief Executive: “The Big Beach Clean-up has grown year on year, involving thousands of amazing volunteers ready to don gloves and bags and pick up the rubbish left behind by others, washed down from rivers or discarded from fishing boats and ships. Beach litter levels around the UK are sadly increasing – by over 6% according to our most recent UK survey. This fantastic partnership between M&S, charities and communities raises awareness of the issue and the need for nation-wide action across government, industry and voluntary sectors to stop litter at source.”
If you want to join in with this year's Big Beach Clean-up, it only takes an hour or two, then you can spend the rest of the day enjoying the organised activities.