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Government urged to take action to reduce marine litter

With beach litter on the rise, the UK’s leading marine charity has called for more Government action.

According to the data collected by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and published in its Great British Beach Clean report, there was a 6.4% rise in beach litter between 2013 and 2014 and a 50% increase in the number of wet wipes washed up.

“There is an international obligation for the UK Government to take action to reduce marine litter under an EU marine directive. We therefore believe Government needs to produce National Marine Litter Action Plans for England and Wales, similar to those already produced for Scotland and Northern Ireland. There has to be a three pronged attack on marine litter led by new policies and action from Government, new practices from industry and behaviour change from the public,” said Dr Sue Kinsey, MCS senior pollution policy officer.

The wet wipes problem has already been highlighted by a number of UK water companies. Earlier this year Southern Water revealed over 2,000 tons of wet wipes were playing havoc with sewers in Kent. 

MCS says a National Marine Litter Action Plan should address the key sources of marine litter: public, fishing, shipping and sewage related debris, which includes wet wipes. The charity says new measures that need to be taken to tackle the issue include: a nationwide deposit scheme for plastic drinks bottles and aluminium drinks cans – 10% of overall beach litter recorded during the Great British Beach Clean in 2014 - and better disposal /recycling facilities for fishermen, both commercial and recreational – 11% of all beach litter surveyed during last September’s event.

The public can get involved in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive consultation, which includes marine litter, via the MCS website, until 24 April 2015.   


Picture credit: © Naejung | - Dirty Beach Photo

Marine Conservation Society | UK & NI Ireland | Pollution

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