Help clean the beach plea

VOLUNTEERS are needed for a massive annual coastal clean-up which will help campaigners target those whose litter spoils Suffolk's beaches and threatens its wildlife.

VOLUNTEERS are needed for a massive annual coastal clean-up which will help campaigners target those whose litter spoils Suffolk's beaches and threatens its wildlife.

Beachwatch 2008 will take place over the weekend of September 20 and 21 and organisers are hoping more people will take part this year than ever before.

The scheme is organised nationally by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and coordinated in Suffolk by the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Unit, which has 16 groups already signed up for this year.

Lynn Allen, countryside officer with the unit, said a record-breaking 31 teams - more than 500 volunteers - participated last year.

“Beach litter is an on-going problem causing impacts on people and wildlife,” she said.

“Beachwatch is a great way of raising awareness of the problem as well as providing an opportunity for volunteers to do something positive.

Most Read

“Last year, volunteers collected over 2,600kg of litter from Suffolk's beaches comprising 81,513 items - a fantastic achievement.

“Beachwatch is rewarding and it's also great fun! The feedback I received after last year's event was incredibly positive and people were so enthusiastic.

“The purpose is not just to clean beaches but also to tackle the whole problem of marine pollution.

“Because we record the litter, MCS are able to identify the sources, target offenders and lobby government.

“Discarded marine litter kills thousands of seabirds, mammals and turtles every year and also looks unsightly. Some items, such as plastic, never completely decompose - the only way to get rid of them is to pick them up, but better still, not to drop them in the first place.

“It is a sobering thought that every plastic item ever produced is still present on the planet in some form today.”

Small groups work together to survey sections of beach or foreshore, collecting and recording all the litter they find. All equipment is provided, including the recording forms, bin bags and gloves.

Last year's event benefited from donations from Hutchinson Ports, The Volunteer Flying Squad and the Connect fund, enabling further equipment to be purchased

Twenty-five groups have also joined the Adopt-a-Beach year-round scheme, carrying out similar clean-ups four times a year.

To take part either by joining an existing team or setting up a new group, contact Lynn Allen on 01394 384948.

How do you rate Suffolk's coast for cleanliness? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk