Plastics 2020 Beach Litter
A public opinion survey on behalf of Plastics 2020.
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Date Published
19 Nov 2009

Further Description

Plastics 2020 Challenge to look for solutions for tackling waste on the UK’s beaches

Poll shows public place most blame on beachgoers and tourists

Tackling marine and beach litter will be the focus of a new campaign launched today by the Plastics 2020 Challenge.

Welcomed by the Marine Conservation Society, the UK’s leading charity dedicated to protecting seas, shores and wildlife, the campaign will call for a thorough investigation of the problem of beach and ocean litter.

Members of the public can go to the website www.plastics2020challenge.com and have their say as to the problems that litter, particularly plastic litter, is causing in the marine environment, report the worst local problem areas, and suggest possible solutions.

The Marine Conservation Society has agreed to work with the Plastics 2020 Challenge in launching this debate. MCS volunteers carry out regular litter surveys all around the UK’s coast.  During the annual Beachwatch Big Weekend last year nearly 60% of litter was plastic and over 380,000 items of litter were picked up on one weekend on 374 beaches.

A new survey commissioned for the Plastics 2020 Challenge and carried out by ComRes shows that almost two in five of the general public (some 38%) blame beachgoers and tourists for littering Britain’s seas and beaches, with only just over one in ten (13%) blaming the packaging industry – the same proportion as hold the sewage and waste companies responsible. Only 2% of people blame the fishing industry.

Peter Davis, from the Plastics 2020 Challenge, said: “Marine litter is a hugely complex, multi-faceted and increasingly serious challenge. However, the simple fact is that waste, whether plastic or other, --does not belong in the sea. Litter is primarily a result of human neglect and poor waste management and if we all acted responsibly there would be no reason for the large majority of it to be there.

“Statements like this are easy to make but delivering on such a vision is much harder. That is why the search is on to find practical solutions to marine litter, for the benefit of future generations of mankind and sea life alike. It is a

fundamental and urgent challenge for our global society. As an active and concerned member of this global community, the plastics industry is as keen
as any to help resolve the issue of marine litter and start making progress towards a day when it is no longer an issue.

“It is essential that there is the right legislative framework in place to deal with this issue globally.  We will be approaching the Government to discuss our research and the responses to the public debate.”

Dr Sue Kinsey pollution programme manager for the Marine Conservation Society said: “We welcome the plastics industry taking this initiative to help us push marine litter up the public agenda. While the industry still has a long way to go, something they acknowledge themselves, it is refreshing to see the producers and manufacturers taking a positive approach. We look forward to joining the Plastics 2020 Challenge debate on marine litter and hope the industry can live up to its promises to make significant inroads on its environmental impact by 2020.”

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