Litter: Coastal Areas

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 16th July 2019.

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Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Government published the Litter Strategy for England in April 2017, setting out our aim to clean up the country and deliver a substantial reduction in litter and littering within a generation. The common aim of all the actions set out in the Strategy is to change the behaviour of people who currently feel that it is acceptable to drop litter, whether at the coast or anywhere else. Evidence shows that people drop less litter in a clean environment, and we therefore particularly support efforts to remove litter from coastal environments.

Last year saw the largest ever Great British Beach Clean, organised by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), during which nearly 15,000 volunteers removed 8,550kg of litter from their local beaches. The Government funds the MCS to carry out regular beach litter monitoring studies and cleans. This data helps inform future policies, such as our commitment to a ban on plastic straws, drinks stirrers, and plastic stemmed cotton buds in England from April next year.

Earlier this year the Prime Minister also recognised three “points of light” for their outstanding voluntary efforts to tackle marine litter:

  • Jason Alexander, who set up the organisation Rubbish Walks, highlighting the impact that plastic and cigarette butts are having on coastal environments, and inspiring people in his local community to take action.
  • Emily Stevenson, a marine biology graduate, who has set up an industry partnership with Nissan to provide her 'Beach Guardian’ volunteers with transport to litter pick on remote beaches.
  • Dhruv Boruah, organiser of The Thames Project, who uses a specially adapted bike to provide clean ups on the Thames and across the UK, as well as in the Netherlands and the USA, inspiring people worldwide to consider the damaging impact litter and plastics are having on our waterways.

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