TV programmes inspire more volunteers to clean up beaches 

 In News

With the longest day last Friday (June 21) many people will now be dreaming of holidays and trips to beautiful beaches over the summer.

The good news is that thanks to Sir David Attenborough’s TV wildlife documentaries the UK has more clean resorts and more volunteers picking up the litter in the sand this year.

“It is very encouraging that the green message is challenging more and more people to help tidy up our coast and countryside,” said Ron Fox, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park.

Last month the environmental charity, Keep Britain Tidy, and the Foundation for Environmental Education gave more than 200 beaches awards for cleanliness, 18 up on last year. These included 71 blue flags and 137 seaside awards to places that maintained clean sands and water.

The annual honours give a standard of quality on our beaches and show to visitors that those with a blue flag will not only be clean with plenty of facilities, but also safe, meeting the highest environmental standards, as well as the most stringent standards for international bathing water.

Keep Britain Tidy, the charity behind the scheme, has been monitoring the cleanliness of English beaches for more than 30 years. Just 12 English beaches achieved a Blue Flag in 1987, when the scheme began. 

Winners this year included Sandbanks in Dorset, Croyde Bay in North Devon, Whitby in Yorkshire, Westbrook Bay, Margate, Kent, and Manor Steps, Bournemouth and Whitley Bay in North Tyneside.

Also, a recent poll said 54 per cent of respondents had decided to remove litter from coastal places after watching documentaries such as Blue Planet II.

The charity’s chief executive, Allison Ogden-Newton, said she had heard from so many supporters who wanted to help after seeing TV footage of “flotsam and jetsam of plastic in an otherwise perfect turquoise sea” and the effect of litter on the natural world.

As part of the Keep Britain Tidy recent campaign 563,163 volunteers scooped 957,377 bags of litter off the beaches – equivalent to 4,308 tonnes.

The poll showed that 74 per cent of those under the age of 35 felt guilty about seeing plastic waste on beaches and 60 per cent suffered from “eco-anxiety” when they saw rubbish at tourist destinations but with nowhere to dispose of it.

“It is good to see the younger generation fighting global warming,” said Ron. “I have also heard of so many inventive ideas, including a canoeing club who have journeyed to some of Britain’s remotest beaches to pick up the plastic waste and drag it back in big sacks behind their canoes to where it can be disposed of properly.”

He added: “I hope young people’s enthusiasm to cut their global footprint will continue when they buy their own homes and use green energy such as solar panels for electricity, solar assisted heat pumps for their hot water and insulate their rooms with spray foam to cut heat loss and reduce their bills.”

For more advice contact Ron on 0845 474 6641.

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