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

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.

If you are passionate about doing your bit here are some ideas on how to get involved and take action:

- 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.

- Join our Clean Up Scotland campaign and register your own big litter clean up or #2minutecleanup 

- Register a Great British Beach Clean and survey with the Marine Conservation Society

- Support The Great Nurdle Hunt, and record tiny lentil sized pieces of plastic helping us understand the scale of nurdle pollution in Scotland

- Take action to reduce cotton bud pollution and get involved with The Cotton Bud Project

Find out more information about the types and the sources of coastal and marine litter by clicking on the links below.



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

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