How you can help to rid the region’s beaches of litter and rubbish

PUBLISHED: 08:54 30 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:11 30 May 2018

The Big Coast Clean Up campaign. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Big Coast Clean Up campaign. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

An increase in the amount of rubbish being found on beaches has intensified calls to join the fight to keep our coast clean of litter.

Ajay Tegala on Lowestoft Beach supporting The Big Coast Clean Up.
Picture: Nick ButcherAjay Tegala on Lowestoft Beach supporting The Big Coast Clean Up. Picture: Nick Butcher

According to the latest data from the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), more than 250,000 pieces of rubbish were removed from beaches across the country in 2016 and 2017.

The beach clean data showed that 30.4pc of litter found on beaches had come from the general public, with 70pc of what is found being made of plastic.

With the battle under way to keep Norfolk and Waveney’s beaches free of litter and rubbish, these staggering national figures highlight the importance of our campaign to rid the region’s sands of the scourge of rubbish.

And with marine wildlife 
under threat from the waste in 
our seas, it is time to turn the tide – by joining a beach clean 
event or organising your own 
to help the battle to keep our 
coast clean of litter.

The EDP’s Big Coast Clean Up is calling on our readers to protect our beautiful beaches over the summer months. It has been backed by councillors, the RSPB, the MCS, wildlife TV presenter and naturalist Ajay Tegala and author and illustrator James Mayhew.

To combat the rise in litter levels along the coastline, the conservation charity sends out about 7,000 volunteers each year to carry out the ‘Great British Beach Clean’ on 339 beaches.

As the national charity continues to fight for cleaner beaches – and supports The Big Coast Clean Up campaign – last year’s Great British Beach Clean saw volunteers remove 255,209 pieces of litter from the beaches.

A MCS spokesman said: “On average, that makes 718 pieces of rubbish for every 100m stretch of beach we cleaned. Sadly, that’s a 10pc rise compared with the previous year. As with previous years, tiny bits of plastic were the most common items found, and in greater numbers than 2016.”

Data from the 2017 Great British Beach Clean also revealed a 94pc increase in the amount of wet wipes left on UK beaches.

An event hosted by North Norfolk beach cleans and the MCS on Sunday saw a “great turn out” of people remove 21kg of rubbish from Mundesley beach during a clean-up event.

This Saturday, North Norfolk beach cleans and the MCS will be holding a beach clean at Sea Palling. A beach clean is also scheduled to be held at Salthouse on the North Norfolk Coast.

How you can get involved

Here is how you can get involved and organise your own beach clean, according to the Marine Conservation Society’s website.

1 Find a beach and register to run an event there.

2 Check the tide times and try to plan for a full two hours or more of cleaning after high tide.

3 Get permission from the beach owner (often the local council) to hold your beach clean on their land.

4 Find out who is responsible for collecting rubbish on the beach, and discuss where you can leave all the rubbish you collect and you can also ask if you can borrow some equipment.

5 Do a risk assessment for your beach, with tips on how to do one on the MCS website.

6 Advertise and get as many people along as possible!

If you are organising an event, are looking for people to join on an event or want help starting one, email

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