Record litter density on beaches in Wales, survey finds

Volunteers count litter on Porth Neigwl or Hell's Mouth beach, Gwynedd (Photo: Jacki Clarke) The survey counted litter on 64 beaches across Wales

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Wales' beaches have a higher density of rubbish on them than anywhere else in the UK, according to a survey.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) said it was concerned about a 40% increase in sewage-related debris.

The annual MCS survey found Wales had the highest litter density in four of six categories.

Its results for 2010 show a 9% jump to almost 3,400 items per kilometre of beach - almost double the amount in England. The UK saw a 6% increase.

The litter density on Welsh beaches was the highest ever recorded.

A total of 62,694 litter items were collected from a total of 64 surveyed beaches in Wales.

The MSC said there had been a sharp rise in bathroom rubbish being found, items like tampons, nappies and condoms, because people were flushing them down the toilet instead of putting them in the bin.

Because the sewage system is not designed to process this kind of waste, the MCS said more and more of it is ending up on beaches.

Litter categories

  • Public (plastic bottles, can, bottle tops, sweet wrapers) (1,188 items/km
  • Fishing (644.6 items/km),
  • Shipping (48.8 items/km
  • Medical (5.8 items/km

SOURCE: Marine Conservation Society

MSC Welsh officer Gill Bell said people could help reduce this element of beach rubbish by throwing such waste in to a bin in their bathroom rather than flushing it down the toilet.

She said: "People think they are being hygienic. They don't think about dropping litter. But they are putting things down the toilet that they shouldn't, really.

"The only thing that should go down the toilet is tissue paper.

"You should put a bin in your bathroom to put things like sanitary waste, cotton bud sticks in that bin because otherwise you man see them on the beach again the next time you visit."

She added: "Not all Welsh litter comes from Wales - Welsh beaches can suffer from global litter - but we can undertake actions which will decrease the amount of litter from Welsh sources on our beaches."

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