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Battling the tide of trash on beaches in Pakefield, Lowestoft and Kessingland

PUBLISHED: 08:48 17 September 2012 | UPDATED: 09:02 17 September 2012

Volunteers take part in Beachwatch clean up on Lowestoft's North beach.

Volunteers take part in Beachwatch clean up on Lowestoft's North beach.

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A small army of volunteers took to the beaches of Waveney to battle against the scourge of coastal rubbish.

The Beachwatch Big Weekend – the biggest annual clear-up organised by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) – ran from Friday until yesterday as litter pickers cleaned up and recorded the rubbish they found.

The data collected will help MCS shape its beach litter campaigns and keep up pressure on the government to take action to reduce the amount of rubbish that blights our beaches, and protect wildlife.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust linked up with the organisers of the fifth annual event at Pakefield beach yesterday.

Alison Reeve, voluntary co-ordinator, said that 26 volunteers covered the stretch of south Lowestoft beach and collected 11 bags of rubbish equating to 55kg of litter.

She added: “I am amazed at how much was collected – with the common theme being 168 aluminium cans, 99 plastic drinks bottles and 42 glass bottles that were recovered.”

Beachwatch events also took place at Kessingland and north Lowestoft. In “beautiful weather” on Saturday, a team of eight volunteers collected six bags of rubbish containing 46kg of litter at Kessingland. Meanwhile, eight volunteers helped clear more than 1,000 items of rubbish away from Lowestoft’s north beach.

The volunteers collected and recorded every item of litter along a 100m stretch of the north beach. A total of 1,052 items, weighing 5.5kg, was recorded with the most commonly found pieces of rubbish being bits of plastic and polythene bags.

The volunteers also found many bits of fishing lines, which are potentially lethal to marine wildlife, cigarette packets and stubs, and wet wipes.

Leading the team, Victoria Nicholls, from Lowestoft, said: “Beach litter isn’t just unsightly, it can also be really dangerous to both humans and wildlife.”

She said that a clear-up in the area to the north of the section that was surveyed also revealed beer cans and a supermarket shopping trolley, but one of the worst items visible was dog mess, which was either ignored or had been tied up in bags and left in clumps of marram grass.

This was also a similar problem in south Lowestoft, with the volunteers recovering “an increasing” amount of dog mess.

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