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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 March 2006, 03:27 GMT 04:27 UK
NI 'worst beach visitor litter'
Umbrella on beach
NI recorded the highest density of beach visitors' litter
Northern Ireland has recorded the highest rate of litter from beach visitors in the UK, a survey says.

More than 8,200 items of litter were collected on eight beaches over a total length of 4.4 km during 2005.

The Marine Conservation Society's annual beach clean and litter survey said NI had the second highest instance of all types of litter.

But those who visited beaches for fun left more litter in the region than in any other part of the UK, it said.

While there was a 287% increase in litter from 2004, the authors said that might have been down to an extra five NI beaches being included in the survey in 2005.

On average, 1,877 items of litter per kilometre were found, which is less than the UK average of 1,981.

"Northern Ireland recorded the highest density of beach visitors' litter for all UK countries, and beach visitors' litter was the biggest source of litter (881.6/km), representing 47% of all litter recorded," said the society.

'Cleaned and surveyed'

Sewage-related debris was the second most common source of litter, of which Northern Ireland had the second highest density of all UK regions.

Fishing debris was the third most common source of litter (159.5/km), followed by shipping litter (56.0/km).

Northern Ireland was also the UK country with the highest shipping debris density.

Beachwatch 2005 took place around the UK coastline in September last year and involved a record number of volunteers and beaches, said the society.

Its litter projects coordinator, Andrea Crump, said: "It's fantastic that so many people took part in Beachwatch 2005 and a record number of beaches were cleaned and surveyed last year.

"Unfortunately, the survey showed beach litter is still increasing in the UK but everyone can help change this by taking their rubbish home with them when they leave the beach."

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