British public urged to take up ‘million mile beach clean’ as lockdown eases

Campaigners have launched a bid to get 100,000 members of the public out to clean their local beaches, rivers and green spaces.

Littering has been a big problem during periods of lockdown easing in the UK.
Littering has been a big problem during periods of lockdown easing in the UK.

Environmental group Surfers Against Sewage have launched their “million mile beach clean” campaign in a bid to reduce plastic pollution on and around beaches, green spaces and rivers across the UK.

Launching the bid with a 50-metre sand drawing of a seal surrounded by plastic on Cayton Bay in Yorkshire the charity are hoping to inspire the public to clear a million miles by the end of 2021.

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Surfers Against Sewage have launched the campaign as lockdowns around the UK begin to ease, with fears that the public returning to public spaces may lead to littering.

They hope their efforts will not only protect beaches, wildlife and the oceans, but reconnect people with their environment as they emerge from over a year stuck largely indoors.

The initiative will run throughout 2021, but an initial week of action will begin on May 15, with Surfers Against Sewage calling for “clean leaders” to register to lead a clean-up event during the week.

Recently, the group conducted a survey of 2,000 adults in which it was discovered that over half (54 per cent) believe coronavirus has led to an increase in plastic pollution.

Meanwhile, 18 per cent admitted they themselves had bought more plastic items because of the pandemic, with the same proportion opting for disposable face masks over reusable ones.

Hugo Tagholm, chief executive of Surfers Against Sewage, said: “The ocean is under threat and we are running out of time to save it. We want to inspire an army of ocean activists to join the cause and put an end to plastic pollution in the UK.

“After more than a year of isolation, social distancing and reduced physical activity, the Million Mile Beach Clean reconnects communities with the environment and provides numerous benefits to mental health and physical well-being.”

He urged people to sign up for the initiative to help make a difference.