Volunteers in beach clean-up

HUNDREDS of volunteers took part in a clean-up operation to highlight the rubbish left and washed up on Suffolk's beaches.

By RICHARD CORNWELL

Felixstowe editor

richard.cornwell@eveningstar.co.uk>

HUNDREDS of volunteers took part in a clean-up operation to highlight the rubbish left and washed up on Suffolk's beaches.

The teams of more than 260 people collected 100-plus bin bags of rubbish, which will be analysed to identify their sources as part of a campaign to bring pressure on the government to take further action against those causing the litter.

At Landguard at Felixstowe, Suffolk Wildlife Trust volunteers found the most common types of litter were plastic bottle tops, polystyrene cups, fast food wrappers and corrugated foam wrapping material.

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Along the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from Felixstowe Ferry northwards, rubbish included traffic cones; syringes; wooden chip forks and fast food packaging; bulk plastic wrapping; champagne corks; nails from burnt pallets and large quantities of fishing line.

Refuse left by fishermen and daytrippers made up the vast majority of the refuse.

Landguard nature reserve ranger Malte Iden said plastics accounted for more than half the total beach litter found in the UK which can remain in the environment for decades and present a lethal threat to marine wildlife.

"It's a bit early in the season for fishing litter but we find that this usually accumulates over the winter. We would ask all beach visitors to take their litter back with them to rid our shores of this unsightly and potentially deadly menace," he said.

Lynn Allen, countryside officer at the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Unit said the clean-up had been the best yet but it was sad that it was needed at all.

"An amazing variety of marine litter can be found on Suffolk's beaches, although most of it is clearly left by anglers and visitors," she said.

"It's really heartening people care so much about their environment they're prepared to give up their free time to help care for it. More people took part than ever before and it's terrific to see the event going from strength to strength".

Groups and organisations taking part included Adnams, Aldeburgh WI, Bawdsey Parish Council, Felixstowe Society, 1st Leiston Girl Guides, Dunwich National Trust, two RSPB groups, and Shingle Street Residents Association.

A spokesman for the Marine Conservation Society, which co-ordinates Beachwatch nationally, said: "As a lot of litter is left by beach users, steps must be taken to ensure there are appropriate signs on the beach to encourage sensible disposal of litter.

"Support of the Bag It and Bin It campaign encourages people not to flush sanitary waste down the toilet and port waste reception facilities, with possible incentives for bringing waste back to port, would help reduce shipping and fishing litter.

"A reduction in the use of non-biodegradable plastic packaging by manufacturers and stricter enforcement the littering laws in the UK supporting the polluter pays principle, would have a huge impact of litter everywhere."

WEBLINKS: www.suffolkcoastandheaths.org

www.mcsuk.org

n Are you disgusted by the mess on our beaches – what can be done to stop it? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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