Beach litter has long been a problem across UK coastlines, with beach litter increasing by 140% since 1994.
The majority of this beach litter is plastic items which marine life mistake for food.
This is a global issue but also affects ecosystems as small as beaches and bays on The Gower Peninsula, the ones affected the most in this area being Llangennith beach, Broughton, Whiteford Bay, Tory Bay, Three Cliffs Bay, Langland Bay and Swansea Bay, as seen on the map below. These are all part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) as they are located in Gower, Wales, the UK’s first area to be coined with the title in 1956.Map showing areas of the Gower Peninsula that are affected the most by beach litter.
On a wider scale, beach litter is ever rising in the UK. Marine life has been damaged and the amount of marine litter washed up on UK beaches has almost doubled over the past fifteen years. Thankfully, though, The Great British Beach Clean which took place during the summer of 2016 saw almost 6,000 volunteers taking place with over 350 beaches cleaned in the UK. Over 250,000 items of beach litter were collected. Interestingly, the number of plastic bags that were found on the beach almost halved since the previous year. When commenting on this change, the Marine Conservation Society said, “we think that’s down to the charge at the checkout, which is now in place across the whole UK.”
Plastic bags and plastic items have a detrimental effect on not just the environment but on marine life. Almost nowhere is safe for marine life in the UK, SAS stating that “marine litter is an environmental problem on a global scale adversely impacting human health, the economy and wildlife.” Over 600 species of marine organisms come across marine litter and most of these encounters are with plastic items.
But, thankfully, the problem of beach litter can be solved which will be reported on in the next post of this journalistic blog.
Feel free to like, share and/or write a comment on this article below about your views on beach litter in the Gower area.