Volunteers needed for Plymouth’s biggest ever beach clean

The Marine Conservation Society is encouraging people to take part in the Great British Beach Clean.

Plymouth is looking for volunteers this month to take part in the biggest ever beach clean as part of the city’s ongoing work to tackle plastic pollution and reduce single use plastics.

Beach clean organised by a range of community groups take place in Plymouth throughout the year but the UK’s leading marine charity, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has organised the annual Great British Beach Clean from Friday 14 to Monday 17 September and wants to make it the biggest and best yet. The national event, which is sponsored by Waitrose, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and MCS wants to have maximum impact. Nationally, around 7,000 people took part in last year’s Great British Beach Clean, at 339 beaches.

During September local community groups including Plymouth Beach Clean Volunteers, Environment Plymouth and Port of Plymouth Canoeing Association, have organised a number of clean up events.

Members of the Plymouth UK Youth Parliament take part in a litter pick earlier in the summer.

Lizzie Prior, MCS Beach and River Clean Project Officer, says volunteers are the lifeblood of the event and have been since 1994. She says the data they collect on beachcleans is vital: “Last year an amazing 718 volunteers took part in the Great British Beach Clean in Cornwall and Devon. We’d love to see even more people heading out this year to help support us and Plymouth’s Plan for Plastics. Check out our events at www.mcsuk.org/GBBC and help gather essential data to help us understand the greater picture of UK litter.”

Councillor Tudor Evans OBE, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “Beach cleans are just one of the many ways you can support Plymouth’s Plan for Plastics, along with litter picks, recycling and buying reusable cups and bottles. It’s a great opportunity to do your bit for the environment as well as a chance to get outside, meet new people and enjoy our fantastic coastline so why not get involved?”

In June Plymouth was the first city to achieve plastic free status for its waterfront.

Jackie Young, Environment Plymouth Coordinator, said: “With 50km of coastline and waterfront, Plymouth Sound needs all the help it can get! Beach cleans are a great way to remove all the plastic waste that is threatening our local wildlife and environment. Even if it’s just a two minute dash or you only focus on three things ….you’ll be making a difference!”

Tony Sickelmore, Treasurer of the Port of Plymouth Canoeing Association, said: “We are very proud to announce that we are joining up with the Marine Conservations Society’s Great British Beach Clean, plus the World Clean Up Day organised by cleanoceansailing.org and Plymouth’s work around Plan for Plastics, by conducting a Coastal Clean Up Paddle on 15 September.

“You may remember our very successful coastal clean-up in July and we hope to return to the same beaches and compare the state of pollution and see what has happened in the last two months.”

Volunteer beach cleans events in September


Thursday 13 September Beach Clean at Teats Hill beach 12pm National Marine Aquarium
Saturday 15 September Mount Batten – Coastal clean-up paddle 10am Port of Plymouth Canoeing Association https://bit.ly/2Cf0AWT
Saturday 15 September Boat trip from National Marine Aquarium doing a ‘citizen science’ count around Plymouth Sound. Participants will be asked to mark what debris they see and how much of it is plastic. 11am National Marine Aquarium https://bit.ly/2CwsHRV
Saturday 15 September Fort Bovisand 25th anniversary Great British Beach Clean and survey. Meet at Cliff Edge Café, PL9 0AD 1.30 – 3.30pm Sea Champions Coordinator


Saturday 15 September Mount Batten beach – meet at the bottom of the stairs to the beach 5pm to 6.30pm Plymouth Beach Clean Volunteers
Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 September ‘Plastic not so fantastic’ show in the Eddystone exhibit at the National Marine Aquarium. 1pm both days National Marine Aquarium
Sunday 16 September Big beach clean at Wembury. Meet at Wembury Marine Centre at 2.30pm 2.30pm to 4.30pm Devon Wildlife Trust and National Trust
Sunday 23 September Jennycliff beach – meet at bottom of the stairs to the beach. 10am to 12pm Plymouth Beach Clean Volunteers


For the Plymouth Beach Clean Volunteer events you can just turn up and join in – the organisers will provide large tubs, bin bags, gloves and litter pickers. All you will need is to bring your own water bottle, sunscreen and some sturdy shoes.

Find out more about Plymouth Beach Clean Volunteers on their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @BeachPlymouth

Organising your own beach clean

You can also organise your own beach clean with the help of the Marine Conservation Society, but you’ll need to get in touch with them first – find out more about how you can get involved, and sign up here

The Great British Beach Clean is part of the MCS Beachwatch programme. It not only spruces up hundreds of beaches around the UK coast, but volunteers also record the litter they find, and it’s this aspect that has really helped MCS change policy and behaviours over the last quarter of a century.

Find out more about Plymouth’s Plan for Plastics at www.plymouth.gov.uk/plastics or search #PlasticsPledgePlym

For more information on National Marine Aquarium events visit their website

Here’s a video of the week of action on Plastics from June this year when people across Plymouth got involved in a range of events including beach cleans and litter picks when 297 volunteers collected 84kg of litter at 13 events – the equivalent of four households worth of weekly rubbish.

Plymouth’s Plan for Plastics aims to tackle plastic pollution and reduce single use plastics.