The Beachwatch Big Weekend has become the national flagship event of the Beachwatch scheme, taking place on the third weekend of September since 1993. Anyone can be involved in the scheme, either by joining one of the public events or by forming their own group as an Organiser, who can be supported by any number of Volunteers.
The Beachwatch Big Weekend has proved extremely popular with a wide range of community groups, including schools, youth groups, conservationists, businesses and local towns and parishes. The format of the scheme is extremely simple - your chosen section of beach or estuary foreshore must be a minimum distance of 100m, and should ideally surveyed one hour after high tide over the Beachwatch Big Weekend.
There is much more to Beachwatch Big Weekend than just cleaning beaches. The data recorded in the survey is analysed by MCS, to establish the quantity and types of litter on our beaches and where it is coming from. This information is then used to lobby government to change legislation in order to tackle the problem of marine pollution. All of the information collected contributes to the Beachwatch Big Weekend Final Report, which is published annually in the spring following the event. The results also contribute to the International Coastal Clean-up, in which 100 countries regularly participate. Recent funding contributions from The Crown Estate has enabled Suffolk Coast and Heaths to purchase more equipment for their ever-growing group of volunteered and has also secured the publishing of reports on the projects (see below).
Key facts from the 2011 Suffolk Coast and Heaths Beach Watch:
- 694 volunteers collected more than 979 kg of litter from Suffolk beaches.
- A total of 43 litter surveys were carried out on 33 beaches covering over 45 km of Suffolk coast.
- In total 38,579 pieces of litter were recorded at an average of 852 items of litter per km surveyed.
To view the full report click here.
To find out more about Beachwatch and how you can get involved visit the Coast and Heaths website click here.