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Last Updated: Wednesday April 08 2009 10:30 GMT

British beaches getting grubbier

Rubbish on a beach in Dover

The amount of rubbish left lying on British beaches has doubled in the past 15 years, according to Beachwatch 2008.

That's the name of a survey carried out by the Marine Conservation Society, and it found there was on average one piece of rubbish for every metre of beach.

As well as being pretty grubby and unpleasant for people who fancy a visit, it's really bad for animals too.

Seabirds, turtles and whales have all been known to confuse rubbish with food, which can be very dangerous.

More than a third of all the litter dropped on beaches is general rubbish from people, like cigarette butts, food containers or plastic bags.

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Beaches in Scotland are still in the worst state in the UK, although the amount of litter found on them has dropped since the last count in 2007.

More than 5,000 volunteers for the MCS surveyed 175.7 kilometres (109 miles), on 374 beaches for the survey in September 2008.

Between them they collected 3,188 bags of rubbish while counting the trash.