Cornish beaches the most littered in the UK

A recent academic article has discovered that beaches in Cornwall are among the most litter-strewn in the UK. Using beach clean data going back 25 years, they found those beaches bordering Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) at the Land’s End, Mount’s Bay, Padstow Bay and Newquay & the Gannel were among the ten most polluted in the UK, with levels of litter second only to the Thames estuary.

Almost 70 per cent of the litter picked up was plastic, while, of the litter that could be sourced, over half came from the public discarding items, a fifth was from fishing activity and the rest from sewage and shipping. Meanwhile, eight of the ten MPAs with the highest levels of plastic litter were found in Cornwall. In addition to those mentioned above, this included Hartland Point to Tintagel and Lizard Point.

Crantock beach in July this year

These findings, coming as they do after other similar research, should start ringing alarm bells about the capacity of the Cornish environment to cope with an ever-growing residential population in addition to the millions of tourists who descend on our beaches every year. Many – both locals and visitors – seem incapable of understanding what ‘take your rubbish home’ means.

For more on this article see here.

One thought on “Cornish beaches the most littered in the UK

  1. I couldn’t agree more. People leave colossal amounts of rubbish on the beach and around the carpark areas. Once I saw a child’s bodyboard which was lying around on the beach and after a couple of hours I picked it up and tried to return it to someone but in the end I realised the family had just left it.

    The saddest thing I ever saw was a dead seagull with garden wire laced around its neck and one wing. It must have suffered an appalling death.

    Two years ago my daughter spent ages doing something and eventually she came up with a quality sweet wrapper that she had prized out of the mouth of a tiny dead fish she had found. Again very sad.

    What can we do? I take other people’s rubbish, like the bodyboard mentioned, home and dispose of it later, but it is impossible to do much of this. I think we should support all the re-usable cup initiatives with fill ups etc, but obviously that has taken a blow with coronavirus.


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