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Marine Life & Conservation

Shotgun cartridges, false toenails and a bus chair all found on UK beaches this year

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Shotgun cartridges, a bus chair, false toenails and a CCTV camera are among some of the oddest items found by volunteers cleaning up the UK’s beaches in 2021.

The Marine Conservation Society’s dedicated community of volunteers head to the coast come rain or shine to keep the UK’s beaches beautiful.

The charity’s volunteers not only clear litter, but record what they find. While some is, unfortunately, to be expected, other beach litter can come as a bit of a surprise!

Results from this year’s Great British Beach Clean, a week of beach cleaning events across the UK and funded thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, found litter levels to be dropping. The year-on-year drop suggests policies like plastic bag charges and single-use plastic bans are working. However, 75% of all beach litter collected was made of plastic or polystyrene.

Image: Aled Llywelyn

Lizzie Prior, Beachwatch Manager at the Marine Conservation Society said: “It’s great to see litter levels continuing to drop on our beaches, but the massive amount of plastic we’re still finding is certainly cause for concern.

“Our dedicated volunteers head to the beach year-round to collect litter and data which is vital to our work. Sometimes, what they find is a little more unusual, and doesn’t quite fit into our survey form’s categories! We’re sharing some of the items that our volunteers came across this year.”

Some of the items found this year by Marine Conservation Society volunteers:

  • CCTV camera
  • Hearing aid
  • 4 cabbages and 30 orange peels
  • Shotgun cartridges
  • Sofa
  • Bus chair
  • Tool box
  • False toenails
  • Carpet

Many of the unusual items collected by volunteers contain, in some way, plastic. Plastic pieces remain the most prevalent form of litter on UK beaches, with an average of 112 pieces found for every 100 metres of UK beach surveyed.

People’s Postcode Lottery players have raised £3.7 million for Marine Conservation Society and have been supporting both the Great British Beach Clean and the Marine Conservation Society’s beach cleaning programme since 2015.

Image: Aled Llywelyn

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “While it’s heartening that overall the level of litter on beaches has dropped this year, I was shocked to learn about the huge array of items that have been discarded as waste and have then gone on to be washed up on our beaches.

“It’s a stark reminder that there’s more to be done so I’m delighted that funding raised by our players is supporting Marine Conservation Society – and their wonderful volunteers – to continue this valuable work.”

To learn more about the Marine Conservation Society’s beach clean results, and join as a volunteer, visit the charity’s website: www.mcsuk.org

Marine Life & Conservation

Help protect our marine environment with BSAC’s new Shore Surveyor course

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BSAC has partnered with Scottish environmental charity, Seawilding, to offer everyone the chance to help champion the marine environment with the new Shore Surveyor course.

Delivered by eLearning, Shore Surveyor has been designed to engage people, particularly children and young people, in the issues that face our precious marine life. With a focus on the UK’s native oyster and seagrass beds, this eLearning course equips participants with the skills needed to help identify seashore-based habitats and record what they find.

Shore Surveyor is open to everyone, whether they are BSAC members or not.

Working with Seawilding, the UK’s first community-led native oyster and seagrass restoration project, Shore Surveyor participants will also learn about the native oyster and seagrass beds and the issues they currently face.

Both the UK’s native oyster and seagrass habitats have experienced a serious decline over the past 200 years, resulting in an estimated 95% reduction in populations. The new Shore Surveyor course ties directly into BSAC’s major new marine project, Operation Oyster, which aims to protect and restore native oyster habitats around the UK.

By the end of the course, participants can become ‘citizen scientists’ by helping to locate and record seashore areas where current or potential native oysters or seagrass populations are present. This data can then be fed into the National Marine Records Database to help scientists studying our coast as well as support future underwater surveys.

Seawilding CEO, Danny Renton, said he was delighted to partner with BSAC on the Shore Surveyor course.

“Our seas are in peril, and it’s so important to engage families and especially young people, in the wonders of the sea and to engage them in marine conservation. The Shore Surveyor course is the first step to get involved in initiatives like seagrass and native oyster restoration and to nurture a new generation of ocean activists, environmentalists and marine biologists.”

BSAC’s Chief Executive, Mary Tetley, said the new Shore Surveyor course was also part of BSAC’s drive to get more young people actively involved in marine life protection. 

“This new course not only explores the threats faced by our precious oceans but also empowers people to get directly involved.

“From a family visit to the beach to a club diving or snorkelling trip, the skills learned on Shore Surveyor can be invaluable to anyone, young or not so young, who wants to make a difference to our under-pressure marine life.”

One of the first participants of the Shore Surveyor course, 16-year-old Lili, from North Wales, has recently put her new found surveying skills into action while on her summer holidays.

“I loved it because it was simple and easy to use and remember,” said Lili. “All ages will enjoy it – young children, teenagers, parents, even grandparents.

“There is a bit of eLearning to do before you start but that is easy to do, and the course really helps you when you go out and see everything for real on the beach!”

Shore Surveyor is open to children aged eight up to adults and costs £20. For more information and to book onto the eLearning course, go to bsac.com/shoresurveyor.

For more information on Operation Oyster and other ways you can get involved, go to bsac.com/operationoyster

Images: Seawilding

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Marine Life & Conservation

PADI and Seiko Prospex unite to help create the world’s largest underwater cleanup for ocean change

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PADI® and Seiko Prospex are teaming up to help marine conservation charity Oceanum Liberandum host the world’s largest underwater cleanup event in Sesimbra, Portugal on 24 September 2022.

Taking place during AWARE Week, the event aims to bring together 700 divers to clean up the coastline for a 12-hour period and is anticipated to host the most divers ever on record taking part in one consecutive underwater cleanup effort.  Participating divers and dive centres from around the region will come together to collect marine debris–which will ultimately be logged into PADI’s Dive Against Debris database.

“Our database is the world’s largest in terms of capturing seafloor debris data, which has already helped drive two pioneering scientific papers being used to create new waste management policies,” says Emma Daffurn, CSR Specialist for PADI Worldwide. “More than 250 million tons of plastic are estimated to make its way into our ocean by 2025 and the environmental damage caused by plastic debris alone is estimated at $13 billion US a year. This world record attempt further highlights the important role divers play in reporting, removing and advocating to stop marine debris at its source.”

PADI is proud to have Seiko Prospex on board as the sponsor of the marine debris program and a partner for this world record attempt. Their support is critical to advancing the PADI Blueprint for Ocean Action, and protecting the global ocean now and for generations to come.

“Helping to raise awareness and take an active role in environmental conservation has become one of Seiko Prospex’s missions,” says Miguel Rodrigues, Sales & Marketing Director for Seiko Prospex. “We seek, whenever possible, to support events that have ocean conservation at their core, and we are very honored to sponsor the world’s largest underwater cleanup. We are proud to contribute to a more sustainable future where humans are an integral part of nature.”

Those who want to volunteer to take part in the world record attempt can learn more and sign up at oceanumliberandum.pt/en/Largest-Underwater-cleanup-in-the-World/. The 15 euro registration fee will go towards supporting dive centres with boats, facilities and air bottle logistics.

“We’re thrilled to have the chance to work with Seiko in supporting the largest underwater cleanup event so that we can mobilise Ocean TorchbearersTM to take action to protect what they love, capture more essential data for policy changes, and continue the wave of momentum in creating positive ocean change,” says Daffurn.

For more from PADI, visit www.padi.com

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