People urged to keep beaches clean after picture of litter-strewn seafront in South Shields

A reader sent in this picture of litter strewn across Sandhaven beach, South Shields, after a sunny day.
A reader sent in this picture of litter strewn across Sandhaven beach, South Shields, after a sunny day.
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Visitors to the seaside are being asked to look after South Tyneside’s beaches.

A disgusted Gazette reader sent in this picture of Sandhaven beach – strewn with litter following the recent heatwave.

Councillor Moira Smith.

Councillor Moira Smith.

As temperatures soar, people often flock to the beach, but the popular spot, in South Shields, was left littered with bottles, cans and food wrappers.

Coun Moira Smith, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “We had an exceptionally hot two days at the beginning of this week and this brought a high number of visitors to our beautiful coastline.

“We take great pride in keeping our beaches clean and tidy and our beach cleaning teams are on site every day. This includes a large machine which can rake through the sand to clear litter and debris just below the surface, which helps maintain our high standards.

“We would urge residents and visitors to our coastline to assist our clean-up efforts by putting their litter into the foreshore litter bins and large bin baskets on the beach, or taking their litter home with them.”

The call comes after the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) launched an appeal to get people involved in a UK-wide beach litter pick.

The UK’s leading marine charity is looking for volunteers to register for the Great British Beach Clean, which takes place from September 16 to 19.

It is the only UK-wide beach clean that, not only spruces up hundreds of beaches around the coast, but records the litter finds as part of a global beach clean count.

Plastic bottles and carrier bags, nappies, balloons, and tiny plastic pieces can be found on almost every beach in the UK – either washed up, blown there or dropped.

MCS beachwatch manager, Lauren Eyles, said: “Beach litter has steadily risen over the two decades we’ve been recording it on UK beaches. In fact we saw some of the highest litter levels ever last year with 3,298 items picked up per kilometre we surveyed.

“Last year’s Great British Beach Clean attracted 6,035 volunteers cleaning 340 beaches – the most in our 22 year history of running clean-ups.”

The MCS Great British Beach Clean is a citizen science project that has become the most respected and long standing beach litter survey in the UK.

“Taking part in the Great British Beach Clean really can make a difference.”

MCS says cleaning and surveying a beach only takes a couple of hours. Each beach has a coordinator, who explains how to fill in a simple data form, and then it’s just a case of grabbing a litter picker and a bin bag and filling it up with rubbish.

Volunteers are asked to record branded items to enable MKLCS to approach specific manufacturers and retailers and look at ways they can work with them to reduce the amount of rubbish from their products.

To find out more, go to www.mcsuk.org/greatbritishbeachclean or call 01989 566017.