UK beaches and rivers cleared of plastic in biggest ever autumn clean-up

Volunteers across the UK removed a staggering 36,000kg of plastic waste from beaches, river banks and lakes.

© Surfers Against Sewage

Over 21,000 volunteers took part in litter picking at 487 beaches, rivers and lakes in the largest clean-up organised by Surfers Against Sewage (SAS).

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SAS say that the increase in awareness on plastic pollution has led to 26 per cent more beach and river clean-ups than last year, with more people than ever coming to terms with the detrimental effects of plastic pollution on our environment.

“These citizen scientists donated more than 73,454 volunteer hours across the autumn clean,” says Ben Hewitt, director of campaigns and projects at SAS. “We were absolutely blown away by the response.”

© Surfers Against Sewage

The clean also allowed SAS to gather invaluable data on the amount and size of single-use drinks containers, with more than 27,600 recycled in the process.

The data will be shared with the UK government and SAS hope that the information will encourage a ‘deposit return scheme’ to be set up for single-use plastic bottles, where consumers pay a small fee which they will get back after returning the container.

© Surfers Against Sewage

“We can make sure we don’t choke our streets, parks and playgrounds with plastic pollution,” continues Hewitt.

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“If it’s on our street today, then it’s in our rivers tomorrow, and our beaches and oceans forever. We can make sure each of us understands that we can change this, whoever we are and wherever we live.”

© Surfers Against Sewage