Northern Ireland

NI beach litter levels 'highest since annual surveys began'

Straws Image copyright Daisy-Daisy/Getty Images
Image caption Straws are among the most common items found

Litter on Northern Ireland's beaches has reached its highest level since surveys began seven years ago.

Teams of volunteers lifted 625 pieces for every 100 metres of beach in 2018.

Plastic makes up the bulk of it, with single use items like straws and bottles the most common.

The statistics are from annual surveys by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, carried out four times a year on 10 reference beaches around the Northern Ireland coast.

The most common forms of litter were tiny pieces of plastic and polystyrene, which accounted for one in five items.

Image copyright Canetti/Getty Images
Image caption A number of bottles have also been discovered

Others included bits of string, glass, caps, lids, plastic and metal drinks cans as well as food containers.

Eighty per cent of marine litter is estimated to come from the land, according to the surveys.

It presents a danger to marine wildlife which can either become trapped in it, or eat it.

Dr Jade Berman of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful thanked the volunteers who conducted the surveys.

The data goes into an international database which informs policy around marine litter in the north east Atlantic.

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