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Last Updated: Tuesday March 28 2006 17:03 GMT

UK's beach litter 'getting worse'

Tynemouth beach
We're bigger litter bugs than ever before when it comes to Britain's beaches, a survey has revealed.

The UK's biggest ever annual beach survey showed litter levels had increased by 4% on the previous year, but by 90% compared to 1994 figures.

Beach visitors were the biggest litter bugs, dropping 37% more fast food wrappers and 17% more plastic bags.

Conservationists are particularly worried about the bags because marine creatures can die if they swallow them.

Stuff left over from fishing and shipping and waste pumped into the sea were identified as other main causes of beach rubbish.

The survey, by the Marine Conservation Society, took place in September 2005.

It boasted the biggest ever number of volunteers - a whopping 3,890 people - and they combed a total of 332 beaches covering 106 miles of UK coastline.

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