The MCS Great British Beach Clean has been voted Conservation Success of the Year 2018 by readers of the BBC Countryfile magazine.
What a boost to the project and our brilliant volunteers in the Marine Conservation Society’s 25th year of cleaning the UK’s beaches, at a time when we MUST do something about marine litter
MCS Beachwatch Manager
The annual awards recognise the best of the British countryside over a number of categories including National Park of the Year, Beach of the Year and even Country Book of the Year.
Lauren Eyles, MCS Beachwatch Manager said winning the award is truly amazing and all of the team are thrilled to bits: ” The 2017 Great British Beach Clean was our biggest event yet with almost 7,000 volunteers getting involved. Beach litter and ocean pollution – particularly plastic – is now on the public agenda thanks to Blue Planet II. Cleaning up your local beach is a great way to ‘do you bit’ – and people are!
“What a boost to the project and our brilliant volunteers in the Marine Conservation Society’s 25th year of cleaning the UK’s beaches, at a time when we MUST do something about marine litter.
“Thanks to everyone who supports us including Waitrose and players of People’s Postcode Lottery, and all who have allowed us make the Great British Beach Clean better than ever. And of course, thanks to everyone who voted for us – we really do appreciate it.”
The data collected by MCS volunteer beach cleaners during the Great British Beach Clean, which is held annually over the third weekend in September, is used to influence national and European legislation, encourage best practice within industries and run public campaigns that offer effective solutions to problem items. Recently the data has been instrumental in such environmental successes as removing plastic from wet wipes and getting them labelled more clearlyand the single-use plastic carrier bag charge.
The winners in all the categories were announced on the Countryfile magazine website which said of the Great British Beach Clean:
“With increasing awareness of the dangers of plastic debris to marine life, it’s no wonder that the Great British Beach Clean weekend was so popular with our readers. In fact, it took the most votes in any category, by a country mile. The Marine Conservation Society spearheads this annual survey weekend, which last September saw almost 7,000 people remove 255,209 pieces of litter from 339 beaches, recording every item. Waste is monitored and traced back to manufacturers, who are urged to make their packaging more environmentally friendly.
“Riding a new wave of public awareness partly triggered by the Blue Planet II series, the MCS is continuing the push for litter-free beaches, and you can join in. Aside from the annual survey weekend, clean-up events continue throughout the year.”
Countryfile presenter and judge, John Craven, said “This is a fantastic project, an annual check on just how bad we’re being at disposing of plastic and other items. Recycling the plastic that they find on the beaches is a new aspect of this continuing project – they’re not just cleaning up the beaches, they’re turning it into something useful, which hopefully won’t end up back on the beaches again.”
Judge Fergus Collins said: “With the problem of plastic in our rivers and seas growing ever greater, it’s no surprise that such an inclusive, positive campaign should win this category. Any visitor to any beach – or any wild place for that matter – should be part of this.”
Also in the Conservation Success of the Year category were the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Isles of Scilly Seabird Recovery Project, Highway England Mitigation Project and the Wildfowl and Wetland Trusts flight of the Swans which was runner up.
Actions you can take
Did you know?…
Since the carrier bag charge came in across the UK, the Great British Beach Clean has recorded almost 50% fewer bags on beaches
Over time, one plastic bottle bobbing along in the ocean can break down in to hundreds of tiny plastic pieces
MCS launched its Beachwatch programme in 1994
Why not join a beach clean … or organise one?
To date, our beach clean volunteers have removed 6 million pieces of litter from our beaches and collected marine litter data to support our campaigns for cleaner seas and beaches.