Volunteers needed to help turn the tide on litter at Brown’s Bay

Volunteers pictured during last year's clean-up at Brown's Bay.  INCT 36-736-CON
Volunteers pictured during last year's clean-up at Brown's Bay. INCT 36-736-CON

Brown’s Bay will be receiving a thorough clean next weekend as part of the Marine Conservation Society’s Beachwatch survey.

The annual beach clean and litter survey aims to highlight the issues of litter around the UK’s coastline.

Local Beachwatch organiser, Elena Aceves-Cully from Islandmagee, is hoping for the biggest turn out of volunteers yet during this year’s clean-up.

The event takes place next Saturday, September 17 starting at 10:30am and promises to be a fun and informative social occasion.

“The tide of litter washing up on our shores is not just unpleasant to look at, it can harm and even kill some of our best-loved marine wildlife,” said Elena. “Over 170 species including seabirds, turtles and whales have mistaken marine litter for food and actually eaten it, which in many cases has resulted in starvation, poisoning and ultimately a slow, painful death.

“Plastic packaging and discarded fishing nets also injure, entangle and drown some of Britain’s favourite marine animals, including seals and dolphins.”

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is the only national UK charity dedicated to the protection of our seas, shores and wildlife, campaigning for clean seas and beaches, sustainable fisheries, and protection of marine life.

MCS surveys have recorded a steady increase in the amount of beach litter since 1994.

The four main sources of litter found on UK beaches come from the public, fishing, sanitary waste (particularly cotton bud sticks) and shipping.

“We want people to take part in an event that will not only make the beach look great for visitors, but will also help MCS identify where the litter comes and try to stop it at source,” added Elena.

The last Beachwatch clean up at Brown’s Bay in 2015 found a record total of 781 items, with the top six items on the day being plastic pieces (209), wood pieces (41), plastic bottles and lids (51), cigarette stubs (29), glass pieces (46), and ceramic pieces (30).

Anyone wanting to take part in the clean up at Brown’s Bay can find out more by emailing lauren.eyles@mcs.org, by phoning 07752 422 616 or by visiting www.mcsuk.org.