5p bag charge linked to drop in plastic on our beaches

The number of plastic bags found on Welsh beaches has dropped to its lowest in five years - just four bags for every 100 metres.

Figures published today by the Marine Conservation Society also show a drop across the UK as a whole, with England and Northern Ireland seeing the biggest improvement.

The charity attributes much of the improvement to the 5p carrier bag charge, which was introduced in Wales in 2011.

Charges were also introduced in Northern Ireland in 2013, Scotland in 2014 and in England in October last year.

Credit: Natasha Ewins / MCS

But whilst the news about carrier bags is good, the charity says there is still a way to go when it comes to litter - the amount on our beaches increased by 15% in the last year.

Data collected by Great British Beach Clean volunteers also showed a rise of over 4% in the quantity of drinks containers found on the UK's beaches - including plastic bottles, bottle tops and aluminium cans.

The Marine Conservation Society runs an annual 'Great British Beach Clean', and call on the help of volunteers.