According to the latest beach litter data collected by the Marine Conservation Society the number of wet wipes found on beaches has increased by over 50% in a single year.
The charity’s report, which also reveals a 6.4% rise in beach litter between 2013 and 2014, comes as the Government claims that no new action is needed on marine litter and claims it’s doing all it can. MCS says that its annual beach litter report has shown a rising trend in rubbish on UK shores over 20 years.
2,457 bits of litter were collected and surveyed in 2014 compared to 2,309 in 2013.
MCS Beachwatch Officer, Charlotte Coombes, says the problem is that wipes, often described as flushable, are being put down the loo instead of thrown in the bin.
The problem has already been highlighted by a number of UK water companies, research for United Utilities in the North West showed 1 in 10 households have had blocked toilets and drains due to baby wipes, make-up wipes and other non-flushables going down the pan.
MCS says a National Marine Litter Action Plan should address the key sources of marine litter: public, fishing, shipping and sewage related debris, which includes wet wipes.
The charity says new measures that need to betaken to tackle the issue include: a nationwide deposit scheme for plastic drinks bottles and aluminium drinks cans – 10% of overall beach litter recorded during the Great British Beach Clean in 2014 - and better disposal recycling facilities for fishermen, both commercial and recreational – 11% of all beach litter surveyed during last September’s event.
The good news for the North of England is beaches have seen litter levels dropped on both the east and west coasts, and less rubbish was also found on beaches in Scotland.