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Marine litter

The terrible truth
We all enjoy a day out at the beach, but these days you are likely to find much more there than just sand and sea! Many of the thousands of people that visit beaches every year leave behind food wrappers, cigarette ends, drink cans and toys like buckets, spades and beach balls. These can then be blown or washed into the sea and become marine litter. Marine litter can also come from ships, fishermen, drains and factories. This litter doesn't just look horrible - it's dangerous, too!

Litter harms Wildlife and People
Marine mammals such as seals, sea lions and dolphins are very curious animals who like to examine unusual objects in the sea. This is how they get mixed up in the litter, which causes them injury and stops them from finding food or swimming away from their enemies. Birds, fish and mammals can also confuse litter for food and eat it. Sea turtles, for example, often eat plastic bags because they look like jellyfish, one of their favourite foods. This then fills up the turtle's digestive system, and makes it feel full, so it stops eating and starves. 100,000 marine mammals and nearly a million seabirds die either from getting caught in or eating litter each year! Many of these creatures are already threatened or endangered species. In addition, litter is dangerous for people as they can cut themselves on glass or metal. Marine litter can also block boat propellers, which is dangerous and very expensive to repair.

Be the solution
So ... next time you go to the beach, make sure you are part of the solution, NOT the problem! Take ALL of your litter home with you and consider taking any other litter you can see around you too. If you live near a beach, you could even organise a Beach Clean-up Day.

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