Beach litter

Coastal and marine litter includes items found on a beach or at the coast, whether washed up or left behind, as a result of human activity.

Organisations all over the world are working to tackle marine litter, and international legislation is developed to set targets at every level, including:

  • The European Commission communication on the Circular Economy - proposes a 30% reduction by 2020 for the ten most common types of litter found on beaches.
  • The European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive - which states that an initial assessment of the marine environment must be made and a monitoring programme should be in place by this year to achieve Good Environmental Status by 2020.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) states that 80% of litter in Scotland’s marine environment is transported there from land by rivers, drainage or wind. Every time you visit your favourite beach, pick up a piece of litter and dispose of it appropriately - the only cure for litter is you.

Find out more information about the facts, types and the sources of litter through clicking on the links to the left. If you are passionate about doing your bit, get involved in our Clean Up Scotland campaign today, or register a survey with the Marine Conservation Society.

You can read more about what we have been doing to tackle the issue from source to sea here.



Clean Up Scotland
Find out more about our national campaign Clean Up Scotland, including how to organise beach cleans.