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Rubbish mars resort's beaches

PUBLISHED: 20:30 27 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:49 02 March 2010

SEASIDE visitors flocking to the coast to enjoy the first real sunshine of spring were faced with award-winning beaches awash with a disgusting tide of rubbish.

SEASIDE visitors flocking to the coast to enjoy the first real sunshine of spring were faced with award-winning beaches awash with a disgusting tide of rubbish.

Many visitors could not believe the state of the high water mark along Felixstowe's shores - which was littered with plastic bottles, tin cans, wood, fishing line, rope and many other dangerous and unsightly objects.

As visitors poured into the town to enjoy the warm weather, it seemed Suffolk Coastal council had again misjudged the need to make the resort look its best - just as it did when it left gardens in an unkempt state during the Golden Jubilee.

Today a massive clean-up operation was under way to try to pick the beaches clean of debris, though it was a huge task for the workers involved.

One weekend visitor said: "I could not believe the beach was so filthy.

"There were so many people about and lots of people were commenting on it because they wanted to use the beach and go in the sea.

"But you had to keep crossing this band of rubbish and making sure the children didn't stand on any glass or sharp plastic.

"It must be a nightmare to keep a shingle beach spotless, but this was completely the opposite - we could have picked a few sackfuls of rubbish in a few minutes there was so much.

"It's not a very good advert for Felixstowe, especially as the town wins so many awards for its beaches."

Other visitors described the beach as "an eyesore" and "terrible", and one woman said it was the worst she had seen it for many years.

Three weeks ago the town won Seaside Awards for its beaches at The Dip and the main seafront, which also holds a European Blue Flag award.

The main problem at the weekend seemed to have been scour tides dredging up old rubbish from the seabed.

Some of the litter, which was all tangled in seaweed, seemed to come from shipping, but much of it was so diverse it was hard to identify a source.

A Suffolk Coastal spokesman said the council was already aware of the rubbish problem and a full inspection of the situation was taking place yesterday.

Extra staff had been taken on and the litter would be cleared away, and more staff would be employed for the main summer season.

The council cleans Felixstowe's beaches daily during the summer months and also responds immediately when there are litter hotspots or complaints.

It has supported the international community's moves to educate shipping crews and vessel owners about the environmental benefits of a clean sea and encouraged ports to improve litter facilities.

n What do you think of the state of the beach - should more effort be made to track down and prosecute those who cause the 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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