'Don't make Easter rubbish': Wildlife appeal for people not to litter as lockdown eases

A seal surrounded by litter on the beach. Credit: Sea Life Aquarium/Sea Life Trust.

As lockdown restrictions begin to ease slightly over the Easter Holidays there's a warning about the problems that litter can cause for wildlife.

Marine experts from the Sea Life Trust which runs fifteen aquariums across the UK including in Hunstanton and Great Yarmouth, are appealing for people to bin their litter or take it home with them. 

Last summer when lockdown eased there was a rise in people littering. Now there's concern over disposable face masks which if they get into the sea or rivers can cause harm to wildlife.



Seal injured by discarded wire/netting. Credit: Sea Life, Hunstanton

The effects of last year's easing of lockdown over the summer from city canals to rural beaches, saw a surge in litter being found in waters across the country.

Now SEA LIFE aquariums and their official charity the SEA LIFE Trust have launched the ‘Don’t Make Easter Rubbish’ campaign to prevent it happening again.

There's a particular concern surround disposable face masks. The Marine Conservation Society found them on 30 per cent of all beaches last year.

The time it takes for the following to biodegrade:


  • Cigarette butts – 10+ years 

  • Coffee cup – 50 years

  • Plastic bags – 20-50 years

  • Crisp packet – 80+ years

  • Straws – 200 years

  • Plastic bottles - average 450-1000 years

  • Single use face masks – 450+ years