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The smell of the sea, the wind in your hair and an ice cream in hand. Being an Eastbourne girl, this was how most of my childhood summers played out and where my love of the seaside sparked from. I’m not the only one who loves the beach – the RNLI predicts that 2 out of 3 of us will visit the beach at least once this year. 

It’s a really sad fact that litter is increasing on our beloved beaches. An MCS survey published recently showed that litter on British beaches rose by 6.4% last year. Why is this a problem? It looks terrible, it can cause a hazard to people using the beach and it’s really bad news for wildlife on the beach and in the sea. 

That’s why we’re teaming up with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and the Canal & River Trust to help clear litter from Britain’s beaches and canals in our 4th Big Beach and Waterway Clean-up. From the 7-13 May we’ll be going out to 135 beaches and waterways across the UK to pick up the rubbish left behind by others, washed down from rivers or discarded from fishing boats and ships.  

This event isn’t just about picking up the litter that we find on the day.  We will be collecting data on what we find to help identify the main sources of litter and to raise awareness of the issue.

Most of the litter we have collected in previous years has been common waste items such as wrappers, drink bottles and lids as well as fishing lines. It really makes you think when you see just how much litter we collect. At last year’s event we cleared a staggering 10,950 cotton buds, 21,900 wrappers and 55,600 plastic pieces – not to mention a set of false teeth!

So, if you fancy trip to the seaside, and helping the Marine Conservation Society to protect our beaches, come and join us. The ice cream isn’t included, but the warm fuzzy feeling from doing good for your community is! You can find your nearest beach clean and sign-up at

Follow the event on twitter (@marksandspencer or search #beachclean) and facebook (

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