Litter battle taken to the beaches

RUBBISH posing dangers to people and wildlife was found on Felixstowe's beaches at the weekend as volunteers took part in a national survey of the country's coast.

RUBBISH posing dangers to people and wildlife was found on Felixstowe's beaches at the weekend as volunteers took part in a national survey of the country's coast.

Groups taking in the Beachwatch Campaign collected sacks of material from the shores at Landguard and Felixstowe Ferry and voiced concern at the amount of glass, other sharp objects and dog mess found.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust ranger at Landguard, Malte Iden said: "I am always concerned about rubbish which could harm wildlife but I am just as concerned about that which is dangerous to people, especially children.

"We want people to be able to enjoy our coastlines for their natural beauty and to be able to walk and play on them.

"Yet we found mess left by dogs, glass and other sharp objects which people had left behind and could be dangerous."

Volunteers clean Landguard monthly and the rubbish was not as bad as had been expected, though it would be worse in winter when fishing increased and the tides and weather worsened.

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"There were some bait papers and fishing line and this will be worse in winter unless the fishermen take it home. We also found wind-blown rubbish – fast-food wrappers and polystyrene cups – where people have come to the car park and had a meal and then left litter behind," he said.

A small group of volunteers cleaned the beach at Felixstowe Ferry and found a similar situation.

Gillian Hughes, secretary of the Felixstowe Society, said the group had found mainly plastics and dog mess.

"It was a bit disappointing, especially the dog mess, which is hard to see on the pebbles and is not very nice at all for people using the beaches," she said.

"The litter we found was down to the public and however much councils do to clean up, they cannot be there every minute of every day, and we need to work with younger children to educate them about the importance of this issue."

Plastics is one of the biggest threats to birds and marine wildlife.

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.

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.

N What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

WEBLINK: www.wildlifetrust.org.uk/suffolk

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