GBBC 2020

The Great British Beach Clean is back!

By: Victoria Riglen
Date posted: 16 July 2020

Our annual Great British Beach Clean is back for the 27th year of events across the UK. This year, we’ll be running beach cleans for a whole week, rather than the usual weekend – so there’s even more opportunity to get involved.

GBBC Litter

As more of us are looking to stay local this summer and head to the UK’s beaches, it’s even more important that we all take ownership of keeping them beautiful for everyone.

Lizzie Prior,
Beachwatch Officer

Like many things this year the Great British Beach Clean will be a little different. We’re calling on more of you than ever before to become beach clean organisers, adopt a stretch of beach, gather a small group and clean it up. In line with Government guidance, we’re encouraging friends, family and ‘bubbles’ to come together in small, private groups to clean beaches, rather than the usual big beach clean events where hundreds of volunteers get involved.

We’ve made organising your own beach clean as easy as possible, so be sure to take a look on our website for more information and guidance in the run up to the event, which is happening from 18 – 25 September. If you’re looking for guidance and support, our friendly Beachwatch team is happy to lend a hand.

Lizzie Prior, Beachwatch Officer, says: “As more of us are looking to stay local this summer and head to the UK’s beaches, it’s even more important that we all take ownership of keeping them beautiful for everyone. We’d love to see more people than ever before signing up to organise their own beach clean. The more organisers we have, the more beach cleans we can run throughout the week and the more data we’ll have to push for policy which will reduce ocean pollution in the future.”

Data collected by our volunteers has been instrumental in the creation of policies which stop single-use plastic pollution at source: the 5p single-use carrier bag charge, the ban on plastic coffee stirrers and straws and the commitment to a Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland, alongside much more.

This year we’re also asking volunteers to record how much personal protective equipment they find on the UK’s beaches, including gloves and masks. This information will show how prolific PPE has become and help us assess the danger it poses to the marine environment and wildlife.

Dr Laura Foster, Head of Clean Seas says: “Single-use plastic has been used increasingly during the pandemic, but we need to ensure this is not a permanent backwards step. At the same time, we’ve seen people spending more time outdoors and enjoying our beaches. We’re calling on the government for a truly green recovery, fit for a low carbon future.”

Everyone can play their part in the Great British Beach Clean this September, even when far from the coast. Did you know that 80% of the pollution on beaches around the UK is from litter which has travelled from our towns, parks and rivers? Illustrating the impact of inland litter on beach pollution, our new Source to Sea Litter Quest highlights the most common beach litter and asks you to go out in your local parks, streets and riversides to spot them (and pick them up!) then share your results with us on social media. By taking part in Source to Sea Litter Quest, you’ll not only be removing any potential polluters, but you’ll be able to show how important it is to keep our inland spaces clear, for the sake of the ocean.

Actions you can take

  1. Visit the beachwatch website
  2. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2019
  3. Join a beach clean
  4. Organise a beach clean

Did you know?…

Globally, plastic litter has reached every part of the world’s oceans

To date, our beach cleans have removed over 11 million pieces of litter

MCS launched its Beachwatch programme in 1994

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