MCS: ‘Our Great British Beach Clean was back in full swing this year, with thousands of volunteers heading outside to clear litter from their local streets, parks and over 55,000 metres of UK beaches. Now the results are in – and there’s some good news, but lots more work to be done.
What did the results show?
- The average litter recorded per 100 metres is dropping year on year across the UK. An average of 385 items were found, compared to averages of 425 in 2020, and 558 in 2019.
- Cotton bud sticks moved out of the UK’s top 10 most common rubbish items. An average of six plastic cotton bud sticks were found – the lowest in the Great British Beach Clean’s 28-year history – down from 15 in 2020.
- Numbers of single-use plastic bags on beaches have continued to drop, from a high of 13 on average in 2013, to just three in 2021.
- 75% of all litter collected being was plastic or polystyrene. An average of 112 pieces were found for every 100 metres of UK beach surveyed.
- The number of cigarette butts found in Wales more than doubled from 2020 to 2021, with this year’s average an all-time high for Welsh beaches.
- Wet wipes were the second most common form of litter in Scotland, many of which contain plastic and make their way to the coast through the sewer system.