SeaScapes, the UK’s first marine Landscape Partnership scheme to be funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, is sending out a call to action for local residents and businesses to give up a few hours of their time to volunteer and take part in the Great British Beach Clean 2021.

This is a week-long citizen science event, running from Friday 17th – Sunday 26th September 2021, during which hundreds of ‘beach cleans’ take place across the UK. Organisers at each local event also collect litter data, which they feed into the International Coastal Clean-up (ICC) as well as driving all-important marine conservation work.

North East England’s enviable coastline attracts thousands of visitors and is enjoyed by local residents every year. With this comes a major threat to our oceans and in turn our planet. Litter left behind has a devastating impact on wildlife via polluted waters and destroyed habitats and critically, it is reducing the ocean’s ability to help fight the ever-growing climate crisis.

At last year’s Great British Beach Clean, volunteers from across the UK collected 151,422 litter items, filling 685 bin bags with 3,132kg of rubbish. PPE litter including face masks and gloves was found on nearly 30% of beaches cleaned by the charity’s volunteers across the week of the Great British Beach Clean 2020.[1]

Every item of rubbish found at each 100m stretch of beach is part of a bigger campaign for change – educating and informing people of the scale and consequence of our actions.

Lizzie Prior, Beachwatch Officer at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “The Great British Beach Clean is a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference. Not only do volunteers help keep the UK’s beaches beautiful and litter-free, they collect vital data on what’s polluting our environment.

“We’ve used data collected in the past to campaign for carrier bag charges and single-use plastic bans, all of which have led to a reduction in litter on our beaches. So why not get outside, join us on a beach clean and make a difference?”

The ‘Tyne to Tees, Shores and Seas: SeaScapes Partnership’, is running a series of activities locally to underpin the national effort. Led by Durham County Council, the SeaScapes project consists of a consortium of partners united in their collective mission to influence support and increase protection of our sea and coastline.

Karen Daglish, SeaScapes Delivery Manager, said: “Thanks to passionate, local volunteers we are able to take action to tackle our ocean crisis. Every individual, family or group taking part in our beach clean events, surveys and litter picks plays a part in a bigger shift in mindsets as we protect and restore our ocean.”

The SeaScapes Project team will be hosting beach cleans across the weekend:

  • 18th September, 10am til 11.30am, Great British Beach Clean at Seaham Hall beach
  • 18th September, 12.30pm til 2pm, Great British Beach Clean at Red Acre Beach, Seaham
  • 19th September, 10am til 12pm, Great British Beach Clean at Blackhall Rocks beach, TS27 4AT
  • 25th September, 10am til 2pm, Great British Beach Clean and The Big Seaweed Search at Roker Pier, Sunderland, SR6 0PL
  • 25th September, 11am, The Coast Project – Great British Beach Clean at Roker Village Beach, Sunderland
  • 25th September, 10am til 12pm, Great British Beach Clean at Crimdon Beach, Hartlepool

[1] Data taken from the Marine Conservation Society’s national statistics following 2020’s Great British Beach Clean events.