Beach clean up to save wildlife

LITTER left on beaches is posing a major threat to wildlife living along Britain's coast – and visitors to Felixstowe are being urged to clean up after their stay.

LITTER left on beaches is posing a major threat to wildlife living along Britain's coast – and visitors to Felixstowe are being urged to clean up after their stay.

This weekend two surveys and clean-ups will be held on the resort's beaches to analyse rubbish left on shores and washed up from the sea.

A survey to record stranded jellyfish, staple diet of the magnificent leatherback turtle, will take place at the same time to help conservationists understand movements of the creatures in UK waters.

The events – one at Landguard and the other at Felixstowe Ferry – are part of the national Beachwatch Campaign and will look at the threats to people, wildlife and the environment from litter.

Recent research has shown that 96 per cent of dead fulmar seabirds have plastics in their stomachs, with an average of 2.2 grammes or 23 pieces per bird.

Marine litter has a major impact on wildlife through entanglement and ingestion – plastic bags are often mistaken for jellyfish by leatherback turtles and can cause death by blocking the animals' digestive tract.

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Entanglement in nylon fishing nets and lines, six-pack carriers and plastic bags can kills 100,000 seabirds, fish, seals, whales and dolphin worldwide each year.

Beach visitors, especially children, many also face danger from broken glass and bottles and any medical or sewage related waste.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust ranger at Landguard, Malte Iden said: "We've found broken bottles, knives, needles and even disposable barbecues which apparently cause a lot of injuries nationwide.

"A high proportion of the litter at Landguard comes from fast food packaging and plastic and polystyrene cups.

"As well as appealing to beach visitors and fishermen to be extra careful and take their litter home with them, it would also be good to see an increase in the use of reduced or more environmentally-friendly packaging by caterers and food companies."

Instead of flushing sanitary products and items such as ear buds down the loo, Mr Iden is encouraging people to Bag It and Bin It.

According to Beachwatch's national results last year, beach visitors are the largest source of all litter. Crisp packets, drinks bottles and other rubbish dropped by beach visitors made up 40pc of the litter found.

Fishing net and line, rope, floats, buoys and other fishing gear made up nearly 15pc, sanitary items 4pc and shipping debris 2.2pc.

Harwich Haven Authority spends around £25,000 each year keeping its 147 square miles clear of litter and during last year Suffolk Coastal council spent £68,600 on beach cleaning.

The clean-up at Landguard takes place on Saturday . Volunteers should meet 9.30am at the SWT reserve centre near the radar tower, and wear appropriate shoes and clothing. Gloves and litter picks will be provided.

The Felixstowe Ferry event, organised by the Felixstowe Society, is on Sunday starting from 9am outside the Ferry Boat Inn.


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