34 per cent rise in UK beach litter strengthens case for recycling initiative

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Rubbish found dumped on UK beaches has risen by 34 per cent in one year, a new report indicates.

The majority of seaside litter is comprised of plastic bottles, which take up to 500 years to degrade. Glass and aluminium are also common.

The Marine Conservation Society’s annual beach clean-up revealed that an average of 3,300 total pieces of litter are collected for every kilometre travelled, 99 pieces of which are plastic bottles. More than 8,000 bottles in total were picked up by charity volunteers in 2015.

The charity suggested the rising figures strengthened the case for a potential refundable deposit on all disposable beverage containers. Consumers would be encouraged to retain their plastic, glass, or aluminium containers for a reward, which may drastically reduce the amount of litter on the UK’s beaches.

Common litter includes cotton bud sticks, plastic straws, fishing nets, and rope.

“There have been increases in the number of plastic bottles found on beaches in England, Scotland, Channel Islands, and Northern Ireland,” said the charity’s beachwatch manager Lauren Eyles. “The more we use as a nation, the more we’ll see ending up on our shores.”

The charity aims to cut litter levels on the country’s beaches by 50 per cent before 2020. Sewage pollution reduction is also a goal.

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