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Study finds beachgoers responsible for bulk of plastic beach trash

March 27, 2014

The Great British public dropped nearly 40 percent of all litter found on England’s beaches on one weekend in September, according to the Marine Conservation Society, while plastics topped the beach littering chart once again.

“Plastic is a real issue for our oceans and beaches,” said MCS Beachwatch officer Lauren Eyles. “This year we also picked up lots of lids and caps.

“However, despite it being a really warm summer, we saw fewer [snack and candy] wrappers and fewer plastic bottles.”

Litter dropped or left by members of the public accounted for 39.4 percent of litter recorded over the weekend of Sept. 20-23 the MCS said.

This was followed by ‘non-sourced’ (38.1 percent), described by the MCS as “all the bits and bobs that we can’t really identify,” then fishing debris at 12.6 percent; shipping-related waste (4.5 percent); sewage-related debris (4.3 percent); fly-tipped material (0.9 percent), and medical (0.2 percent).

The British Plastics Federation said it strongly supported the work being done by the MCS and would give its full backing to the MCS’ “Marine Litter Action Network,” which is being launched in June.

Peter Davis, the federation’s director general, said his organization was involved in a number of initiatives designed to clean up beaches and champion litter prevention in all environments.

“The plastics industry does not litter beaches or dump waste at sea. We don’t want used plastics littered or landfilled; we want it back for recycling,” he said. 

“There should be zero tolerance towards littering behavior, fines should be enforced and more litter bins provided.”