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Last Updated: Wednesday April 08 2009 15:07 GMT

Ricky investigates Britain's grubby beaches

Ricky at the coast

Ricky's on the lookout for litter

Last year, thousands of volunteers took part in Britain's biggest beach survey - and the results aren't good.

According to the Marine Conservation Society, the amount of rubbish littering Britain's beaches has doubled in the past 15 years.

Ricky headed to the south west coast of England to investigate.


"Spending the day on a beach with an ice cream and the sun shining on my face, sounds like my idea of fun, but it was all in the name of finding out how much litter is on our beaches.

A new survey has shown that the amount of litter on the UK's beaches has reached its highest level ever.

Some of the rubbish found on the beaches

Every year the Marine Conservation Society and thousands of volunteers take part in the biggest beach survey.

Over two days in September, 5,000 people from across the UK armed with notice boards and litter-pickers take part.

Between them they removed more than 385,000 pieces of litter from more than 370 beaches.

In fact, rubbish on our beaches has reached such a high it has more than doubled since 1994. The biggest problem is the amount of plastic that ends up there.

I met up with a group of young volunteers who took part in the survey. They told me how frustrating it is when they see tourists and other beach visitors leaving trash behind.

Some of the kids taking part in the beach clean-up
Loads of kids have been helping out with the beach clean-up

While walking around Praa Sands beach in Cornwall, I spotted a few plastic bottles, a couple of old fishing nets and even a piece of medical equipment.

The Marine Conservation Society say that rubbish on our beaches can endanger wildlife who might eat the plastic or get tangled in it.

They say it can also be harmful to people and they're calling for everyone to be more responsible with their rubbish.

Fishermen also play an important part in making sure that coastlines are clean. I met up with a fisherman in Cornwall who is taking part in a new scheme to reduce the amount of litter in the sea which could eventually end up on the beach.

Rubbish recovered from the beach

Check out how much rubbish was fished out of the sea in a week

The scheme is called Fishing For Litter and involves fishing boats bringing ashore rubbish that is brought up during fishing activities.

The local fishermen are given large bags to store the rubbish and then it gets disposed of properly when the boats return to harbour.

I got to see all the rubbish a fisherman picks up over a typical week. I couldn't believe some of the things they collected. From old trainers to washing up gloves, all of this will now be thrown away responsibly and some of it might even be recycled.

It's hoped that this will reduce the amount of plastic and other bits of waste from littering our beaches."

Ricky