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Author Topic: Litter left on NI beaches almost doubles  (Read 1580 times)

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The amount of litter dumped on Northern Ireland's beaches has almost doubled in the last year.

That is the findings of the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) after their annual beach survey.

The group said they were increasingly concerned over the amount of plastic litter being found.

In September MCS volunteers visited 13 beaches in Northern Ireland for the annual litter pick and found over 1,700 items for every kilometre of beach.

That is almost twice the amount of litter found in the previous year.

Compared to 2008, levels of litter across the UK dropped in the north-east and across the south of England.

But they rose in the north-west, while Scotland and the Channel Islands both saw amounts of rubbish on their beaches fall.

Wales saw a rise in litter, while in Northern Ireland, the number of items of rubbish per kilometre had almost doubled on the previous year.

The conservation organisation is concerned about the continuing problem of plastic waste, which it says is overwhelming UK beaches and harming wildlife.

They are particularly concerned about plastic rubbish because of its damaging impact on wildlife.

From seals entangled in fishing nets and lines to leatherback turtles which have swallowed plastic, the rubbish kills and injures many marine animals every year, the MCS warned.

Instead of biodegrading, plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces - and in some parts of the ocean there are now six times as many of these particles than there are plankton, the tiny organisms that form the bottom of the food chain.

The conservation group warned plastic fragments also attract toxic chemicals and then are eaten by marine animals, potentially providing a path for the toxins up the food chain to humans.

Marine creatures are trying to eat the plastic, mistaking it for food, often with fatal consequences.
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