The Great British Beach Clean 2021

Today, 17th September 2021, sees the start of this year’s Great British Beach Clean event. This is an exciting citizen science initiative which sees hundreds of organised beach cleans all around the UK, the data collected is then used to drive targeted conservation work of both the Marine Conservation Society and for use with the International Coastal Clean-up (ICC).

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is a group of dedicated ocean lovers who are working to defend a variety of habitats and species through actively working with communities, businesses, and governments to implement best practices. They are tackling some of the biggest issues of modern times and the impacts that human activities are having on our oceans.

So, why is a healthy ocean good for us all?

Healthy oceans can protect us against climate change and help sustain global biodiversity. The work of the MCS is vital to working towards a cleaner and better protected global ocean habitat. They are campaigning for a minimum of 30% of UK waters to be protected and effectively managed to protect wildlife and habitats for future generations, plus allows the oceans to efficiently work as a carbon sink. Striving for cleaner oceans, both by actively cleaning and implementing pollution prevention measures to protects our coastlines.

The Great British Beach Clean
The Great British Beach Clean 2021

The data that is collected by MCS volunteers during beach clean events allows for better targeted conservation – for example, a 55% drop in plastic bags on UK beaches has been observed since the 5p surcharge was introduced, additionally, 30% of beach cleans in 2020 found used face masks and other PPE equipment. This data allows for prioritised lobbying of the government to target the issues that are most prevalent in our oceans and our coastlines.

The MCS understand that a health planet needs a healthy ocean, which is something that we are not achieving right now. Our modern practices are polluting the water and destroying habitats – this is harming species and reducing the carbon absorbing qualities that are hugely important in our fight against the climate crisis. To recover the health of our oceans the MCS are working towards a 2030 goal to achieve:

  • A third of our seas to be truly protected, so nature can recover
  • Ocean pollution levels to show a clear downward trend
  • Fish stocks returning to a sustainable level

Volunteering for MCS Great British Beach Clean events is a great way to do your bit for achieving these goals. This Great British Beach Clean week, I am excited to be taking part in The Big Hastings Beach Clean with Hastings Aquarium.

You can get involved with a beach clean near you by checking out the Marine Conservation Society website to find out where and when the events are taking place:

https://www.mcsuk.org/what-you-can-do/join-a-beach-clean/find-a-beach-clean/

If you are local to Hastings and would like to join our event, then you can find the official event by clicking here: https://www.mcsuk.org/beach-cleans/the-big-hastings-beach-clean-25-09-2021–2/ 

Or visit the Facebook Events to register your interest: https://www.facebook.com/events/568538107650759

For best use of the collected data, the MCS request data from all 4 seasons. Hopefully this means that I will be able to take part in more beach clean events in the future and do my bit to reduce marine pollution. Taking part in and supporting these sorts of local, conservation and environmental initiatives is just one way that we can help the planet and live more sustainably. However, there are so many other ways that you can also help.

Why not take some time to research other ways to help the environment in your daily life? From reducing plastic, to dietary changes and finding alternatives to disposable items, there is always something that you can do.

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