A record number of volunteers have helped to turn the tide on litter during a beach clean at Browns’ Bay over the weekend.
The clean up operation took place as part of Beachwatch, the flagship project of Marine Conservation Society (MCS).
The campaign consists of beach litter surveys and clean-ups taking place the third week of September every year throughout UK.
Led by Elena Aceves-Cully from Islandmagee, over 55 volunteers, including parents and children from Mullaghdubh Primary School, pitched in to collect and record rubbish along the scenic coastal stretch.
The data will help MCS identify the main sources of litter on Browns’ Bay and keep the issue of the dangers of marine litter high on the local agenda.
The beach litter survey recorded a record total of 914 items, with the top item found being plastic debris (158), crisps, sweets, lolly and sandwich wrappers (60), followed by foil wrappers (41).
Some 52 wood pieces were also recorded as well as 33 glass pieces. The number of discarded cigarette butts was down slightly (76 from 120 last year), while the number of plastic bags remained at 16.
Small plastic pieces, bags and balloons can choke birds and the group was worried to discover a very large sea bird dead on the sand.
Unusual items found included a vehicle tyre, a large lump of burnt out plastic and other materials, a metal pipe, a tent spike, two pairs of socks, a pair of boy’s underpants, swimming goggles, two candles, a tennis racket and two tennis balls.
Elena Aceves-Cully said: “We found 16 pieces of dog waste, six of which were in plastic bags. This is very disappointing as it shows some irresponsible dog owners cannot be bothered to use the bins available nearby, causing pollution not once but twice by leaving a plastic bag behind!
“I would like to thank Larne Borough Council for providing us with cleaning equipment and materials as well as in picking up the rubbish after the event.”