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Look at these heroes. Last Tuesday, a group of volunteers went litter picking on Sand Bay in Weston Super Mare. The Big Beach Clean-Up, run by the Marine Conservation Society and M&S, has been running in its current partnership for four years. The beach clean gets UK beaches nice and tidy ready for the summer. As well as that, the rubbish found becomes part of a survey that the MCS have been running for 25 years. The survey’s aim is to trace the litter back to source and ultimately eliminate the problem and ensure that the only thing being washed up our beaches is shells and seaweed.

I had a chat with a lady from the MCS who told me that every year they find all sorts of rubbish on our beaches. Cotton buds are a problem, as are flushable toilet wipes, people are flushing both down their toilets and they end up in our rivers, and ultimately the sea. Neither are biodegradable, shockingly not even the wipes which are sold as being flushable. They’re covered in a thin plastic film which holds them together but also prevents them from degrading. Meaning that their trend has resulted in a massive increase in the amount of wipes found littering our beaches.

Plastic bottles are a problem too, and general plastic rubbish. Apparently some people think it’s fun to drop them into rivers for environmentally disastrous games of Pooh Sticks. Please stop doing that will you? Sticks are a better choice.

So for the past 25 years the MCS have been gathering data to prove the problem, find solutions and access funding to deal with it. So I think that M&S and the MCS are making a brilliant contribution to protecting our planet with The Big Beach Clean-Up.

The M&S Big Beach Clean-Up is part of M&S’ Forever Fish campaign which is funded by the profits from the 5p carrier bag charge in M&S foodhalls. Since its introduction in 2008, the charge has reduced carrier bag use by 75 per cent and raised over £8 million for good causes.  

Since the M&S Big Beach Clean-Up began in May 2012 over 20,000 people have taken part and 62.5 tonnes of litter – the weight of Challenger 2 tank – has been cleared from our canals and beaches.

Beach Clean 2015 group shot

About Purple Ella

Ella is a family and lifestyle blogger based in the South West and her love of the outdoors meant that the beach clean activity particularly resonated with her. This blog was chosen via a competition because of Ella’s passion for environmental issues and her support of the work done by the Marine Conservation Society. 


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