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Marine Life & Conservation

New report shows simple measures needed to cut beach plastic pollution




The Marine Conservation Society has launched its annual State of our Beaches 2023 report, highlighting the need for less single-use plastic items and more refillable options.

The charity’s beach cleaning programme, now in its 30th year, asks volunteers to record all litter that they find within a 100-metre stretch of beach. By gathering vital data from across the UK and Channel Islands, the charity creates change for cleaner seas and a healthier planet through policy and industry change. Last year, over 148 kilometres of beach were surveyed by volunteers, who removed 17,208kgs of litter from our coast.

Using data collected by over 14,000 volunteers, the State of our Beaches 2023 report shows that half of all litter collected came from public sources – either dumped, blown or washed onto our beaches.

Drinks-related litter, such as plastic bottles, caps and cans were one of the most found items, with an average of 16 found per 100 metres of beach surveyed. This figure is up 14% compared to the charity’s 2022 report.

Plastics caps and lids were recorded on 89% of surveys, with over 30,000 found in total. Plastic bottles were also commonly collected, with 73% of surveys finding this single-use item – a 4% increase compared to 2022. The charity’s inland litter pick survey, Source to Sea, also reported finding plastic bottles on 92% of cleans.

However, the charity’s State of Our Beaches 2023 report also indicates that some types of litter are on a downward trend. Although still in the top 10 litter items, disposable plastic cutlery, trays and straws were found on 5% fewer beaches across the UK, showing that bans on these plastic items between 2022 – 2023 could be working. The presence of plastic cotton bud sticks also dropped by 14%.

Lizzie Price, Beachwatch Manager at the Marine Conservation Society, said, “Half of the litter found on our beaches originates from public sources, underscoring the pressing issue of single-use plastic. Evidence shows that refillable alternatives and litter return schemes effectively reduce rubbish, as demonstrated by the decline our data has shown in items like plastic bags and disposable cutlery.

“Urgent and decisive action from UK governments is needed to accelerate our shift towards a circular economy, where we reuse, repair and recycle. The public needs greater access to refillable products and systems need to be implemented in which manufacturers are responsible for their waste.”

Governments across the UK have committed to delivering deposit return schemes from October 2025. However, the proposed scheme in England does not include glass items, despite glass being found on 52% of beaches in 2023. The charity is calling for governments across the UK to introduce compatible all inclusive deposit return schemes as soon as possible. This would see aluminium cans, and plastic and glass bottles have a 20p deposit which would be returned when recycled which would reduce drinks-related pollution.

Businesses are, however, starting to take refillable and reusable options into their own hands. Supermarket chain, Aldi, the largest corporate funder of the charity’s 2024 Beachwatch programme, is already leading the charge in refillable items by trialling refillable options for cereals and porridge oats in their stores over the past 5 months.

Plastics and Packaging Director, Luke Emery, from Aldi, who are running 4 beach cleans for staff and volunteers in 2024, said, We are continually working to reduce single-use plastics and packaging, and making unpackaged product options more commonplace for our customers is a key part of this. We are really pleased with the uptake of our refillable range so far by customers. Not only are we making sustainable shopping more accessible, but we also offer refill products for a better price than the packaged alternative, helping our customers save money.”

Marine litter is one of the biggest threats to our seas, with plastic breaking down over time into microplastics and threatening marine life which can ingest or become entangled in them. The Marine Conservation Society is urging the UK Government to move faster on its policies to cut down plastic waste and prevent items from reaching our seas.

To find out more about the charity’s beach cleans and how to get involved, please visit

Marine Life & Conservation

Double Bubble for Basking Sharks



The Shark Trust is excited to announce that, for two more days only, all donations, large or small, will be doubled in the Big Give Green Match Fund!

Donate to Basking in Nature: Sighting Giants

The Shark Trust is hoping to raise £10k which will be doubled to £20k. This will go towards Basking in Nature: Sighting Giants. And they need YOUR help to reach they’re goal.

The Shark Trust’s citizen science project is to monitor and assess basking sharks through sightings; encouraging data collection, community engagement, and promoting nature accessibility. This initiative aims to enhance health and wellbeing by fostering a deeper connection with British Sharks.

Campaign Aims

  • Increase citizen science reporting of Basking Sharks and other shark sightings to help inform shark and ray conservation.
  • Provide educational talks about the diverse range of sharks and rays in British waters and accessible identification guides!
  • Create engaging and fun information panels on how to ID the amazing sharks and rays we have on our doorstep! These can be used on coastal paths around the Southwest. With activities and information on how you can make a difference for sharks and rays!
  • Promote mental wellbeing through increasing time in nature and discovering the wonders beneath the waves!

Donate, and double your impact. Click Here

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Marine Life & Conservation

Leading UK-based shark conservation charity, the Shark Trust, is delighted to announce tour operator Diverse Travel as a Corporate Patron



Corporate Patrons provide a valuable boost to the work of The Shark Trust. The Trust team works globally to safeguard the future of sharks, and their close cousins, the skates and rays, engaging with a global network of scientists, policymakers, conservation professionals, businesses and supporters to further shark conservation.

Specialist tour operator Diverse Travel has operated since 2014 and is committed to offering its guests high quality, sustainable scuba diving holidays worldwide. Working together with the Shark Trust will enable both organisations to widen engagement and encourage divers and snorkellers to actively get involved in shark conservation.

Sharks are truly at the heart of every diver and at Diverse Travel, we absolutely share that passion. There is nothing like seeing a shark in the wild – it’s a moment that stays with you forever!” says Holly Bredin, Sales & Marketing Manager, Diverse Travel.

We’re delighted to celebrate our 10th year of business by becoming a Corporate Patron of the Shark Trust. This is an exciting partnership for Diverse and our guests. We will be donating on behalf of every person who books a holiday with us to contribute towards their vital shark conservation initiatives around the world. We will also be working together with the Trust to inspire divers, snorkellers and other travellers to take an active role – at home and abroad – in citizen science projects and other activities.”

Paul Cox, CEO of The Shark Trust, said:

It’s an exciting partnership and we’re thrilled to be working with Diverse Travel to enable more divers and travellers to get involved with sharks and shark conservation. Sharks face considerable conservation challenges but, through collaboration and collective action, we can secure a brighter future for sharks and their ocean home. This new partnership takes us one more valuable step towards that goal.”

For more information about the Shark Trust visit their website here.

For more about Diverse Travel click here.

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