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Marine Life & Conservation

Weird and not-so-wonderful UK beach litter discoveries

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The Marine Conservation Society’s year-round Beachwatch programme, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, sees dedicated volunteers clearing litter from the UK’s coast and surveying what they find. Whilst much of the data is used to campaign for policies to slow the tide of single-use plastics entering the ocean, sometimes the charity’s volunteers find some weird and not-so-wonderful items washed up on British beaches.

The charity has gathered some of the weirdest items found by volunteers, showing that you truly never know what you’ll find on the UK’s shores, or how long it’s been there for.

  1. A double mattress
  2. Plastic Christmas tree
  3. A plastic Olaf figure
  4. A single wedding shoe
  5. A wig
  6. 20-year-old crisp packet
  7. A fridge door
  8. Christmas tree baubles
  9. Pink women’s underwear, found by astronaut Tim Peake
  10. Glitterball

Many of the items reported by Marine Conservation Society volunteers show just how long litter can last. Crisp packets, one of the most commonly littered items year on year, can last decades, as proven by the 20-year-old crisp packet found by one volunteer.

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “I was shocked to learn about the vast assortment and sizes of the items that have been washed up on our beaches. It is a stark reminder that we need to do more to protect our seas and I’m delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery continue to support this valuable work.”

People’s Postcode Lottery players have raised £2.65 million for Marine Conservation Society and have been supporting both the Great British Beach Clean and the Beachwatch programme since 2018.

Beachwatch is the Marine Conservation Society’s national beach cleaning and litter survey programme, running year-round with thousands of volunteers across the UK helping to care for the coastline.

Among these weirder items found on the beaches, the pandemic has also impacted the type of litter washing up on UK beaches, with the charity’s Great British Beach Clean report revealing that almost 30% of beaches had discarded PPE on them, posing a significant threat to wildlife. Disposable masks shed microplastics that can be ingested by marine life, whilst sea birds can become entangled in the straps. 70% of inland picks also found PPE, and it’s only a matter of time before these find their way into our ocean, potentially polluting it for years to come.

To read more about the Marine Conservation Society’s Beachwatch programme, register and see how to get involved, please visit the Beachwatch website.  

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Marine Life & Conservation

The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Paul Rose

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Next in a new series of podcasts shared by our friends Gemma and Ian aka The BiG Scuba Podcast…

Ian and Gemma chat to Paul Rose. A man at the front line of exploration and one of the world’s most experienced divers, field science and polar experts, Paul Rose helps scientists unlock and communicate global mysteries in the most remote and challenging regions of the planet.

He is an experienced television presenter and radio broadcaster. With a proven track record in business engagements, Paul is a sought-after speaker, chairman, host and moderator for industry, government and NGO events.

Former Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society(link is external) and Chair of the Expeditions and Fieldwork Division, Paul is currently Expedition Leader for the National Geographic Pristine Seas Expeditions.

He was the Base Commander of Rothera Research Station, Antarctica, for the British Antarctic Survey for 10 years and was awarded HM The Queen’s Polar Medal. For his work with NASA and the Mars Lander project on Mt Erebus, Antarctica, he received the US Polar Medal.

Paul is a mountain and polar guide leading Greenland Icecap crossing and mountaineering expeditions and polar science support logistics. He worked for four years as a Mountain Safety consultant to the oil industry in the Middle East.

On his 2012 Greenland expedition, Paul led the first expedition to successfully traverse a new 275km icecap route of Knud Rasmussen Land and repeated his first ascent of the north face of Gunnsbjørnfjeld, the highest mountain in the Arctic.

His professional diving work includes science support diving in Antarctica as the British Antarctic Survey’s Institute Diving Officer. He ran the US Navy diver training programme at Great Lakes Naval Training Centre and trained many emergency response dive teams including the Police, Fire Department and Underwater Recovery Teams. He remains a current and active PADI Dive Instructor.

Find out more about Paul Rose at www.paulrose.org


Find more podcast episodes and information at www.thebigscuba.com and on most social platforms @thebigscuba 

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Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… TV Presenter Andy Torbet – Part 2: Andy talks about Marine Conservation (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive two-part Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Andy Torbet. In part two, Andy and Jeff talk about Marine Conservation.

Missed Part one? Watch it HERE.

Andy is an Underwater Explorer, Cave Diver, Freediver, Skydiver, Climber and Outdoorsman. He is also a TV Presenter on award-winning series for BBC, CBBC, Discovery, History Channel and Fully Charged Show’s Youtube Channel. Andy is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and The Explorers Club, and is also a Stunt Performer for TV and Films.

Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.


For more information, visit www.andytorbet.com

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