Beach litter threat to county's beauty

RUBBISH washed up on Suffolk's beautiful beaches has increased by 17per cent - with more than 81,000 pieces of litter found along the coastline last year.

Richard Cornwell

RUBBISH washed up on Suffolk's beautiful beaches has increased by 17per cent - with more than 81,000 pieces of litter found along the coastline last year.

The scale of the problem has been highlighted by the annual report from Beachwatch and Adopt-a-Beach voluntary shore cleaning groups who log all the litter found.

There is growing concern about the tide of litter on beaches and pressure is being stepped up to try to educate anglers, shipping, sailors, tourists and other users of the coast of the dangers to the environment and wildlife.


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Artist Fran Crowe currently has an exhibition at Landguard Fort at Felixstowe of the 46,000 pieces of plastic litter - the amount of plastic per square mile of ocean worldwide - she picked up on the county's shores.

“So many animals and birds have been killed by eating bits of plastic - all the bits of polystyrene I found had peck marks in it because birds thought it was food,” she said.

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“Even the sand can be contaminated. You may think you are building sandcastles with what looks like pure sand but analysis has found a litre of sand can have in it 10,000 microscopic plastic fibres.”

Volunteers cleaning Suffolk's beaches in 2007 picked up 2,600 kilograms of rubbish - 81,513 pieces of litter, including plastic, carrier bags, bottles, cigarette butts, fishing line, lolly wrappers, sanitary towels, at an average of 1,871 items of litter per kilometre surveyed - a 17.5 per cent increase on 2006.

Lynn Allen, countryside officer with the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Unit, said the problem would be far worse without the 737 volunteers who did 58 clean-ups on 35 beaches covering 43.5 kms, “an outstanding effort”.

“Our message is very clear - take your rubbish home with you - to do otherwise is both unacceptable and irresponsible,” she said.

Anyone who would like to get involved in cleaning up the coast should ring Lynn Allen on 01394 384948.

How can we stop beach litter? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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