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Annual Worthing Beach Clean and MCS Survey results

Sat 17 Sep 2016

REPORT FROM THE ORGANISERS OF THE WORTHING BEACH CLEAN:

'70 volunteers supported a gusty Worthing 2016 GREAT Beach Clean on Sat. 17th Sept. This year’s Marine Conservation Society ANNUAL Litter Survey was unremarkable in terms of rubbish partly due to the excellent job that Adur & Worthing Councils do in cleansing during the tourist season.

It was evident that plastic is still a major problem, although there are encouraging national developments with supermarkets reporting a major drop in use of plastic bags since introduction of 5p charge. Government has proposed a ban on plastic microbeads in cosmetics (but not toiletries). Micro-plastic, including fibres from washing synthetic clothing, poses a threat to the zooplankton forming the basis of marine fish & shellfish food chains. These tiny creatures mistakenly engulf them as food and are also threatened by plastics giving off harmful vapours in hot sun. The plastic on our beaches comes from the land, often via rivers, or from around the globe via incoming tides.

Worthing 2016 plastic finds were mainly from food – bags, wrappers, containers, bottle caps & straws. There were small pieces of green nylon fishing net, and legions of small broken plastic pieces.  Other food rubbish included wooden lolly sticks & fish forks, broken beer bottles, serviettes and wipes. Cigarette stubs, counted in their scores, are a concern. Nicotine is harmful to shoreline wildlife.

Happily we reported only one dog poo this year – but again this may be due to AWC diligent cleansing!

Our biggest find was a broken canvas and metal chair. 

This year saw a particularly enthusiastic and committed group of volunteers with one jogging down from Horsham to join us.  SWT organised a mermaid’s purse survey - the abundance of these shark & ray egg cases gives an index of threats to marine wildlife. Worthing Climate Action Group reminded us that carbon emissions from use of fossil fuels contribute to global warming. Rising sea level leads to flooding and loss of beach habitat and built heritage environs.

Look out for results of this ‘Citizen Science’ national survey which will be published by MCS in March 2017, providing important data to help Government manage marine and coastal pollution.'