Alistair McGowan makes a big impression on beach litter

TV impressionist and comedian Alistair McGowan has launched a new nation-wide beach litter survey, giving young people the chance to win prizes including an exclusive lunch with the man himself.

BeachBeat is a survey organised by the Environment Agency designed to report on and improve the visual quality of beaches across England and Wales to be carried out by young volunteers over the age of eight years throughout the rest of the summer holidays. The survey will not require volunteers to pick litter up, but will involve a count of different categories of litter in a 100 metre wide transect along the highest water line. Beaches will be classified from A to D, with A being very good and D being poor.

“Beach litter is completely avoidable and we can all make a difference by supporting the BeachBeat campaign,” said Alistair McGowan, who is giving his time for free for the project. “Litter is an unacceptable threat to the environment and it makes a depressing sight too. We’re calling on young people up and down the country to make a big impression down at their local beach during the summer holidays.”

According to two past beach surveys by the Environment Agency, last year the number of very clean beaches decreased from 68 to 52, with only 11% of beaches making the highest grade. However, in the North West, the number of very good beaches increased from none to 29%.

The Marine Conservation Society also carries out an annual beach litter survey, known as Beachwatch, in which volunteers remove litter from the shoreline. Last year, Beachwatch recorded a 7% drop in the amount of litter over the previous year (see related story).

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