A study using data from the Marine Conservation Society’s Beachwatch programme showed that beaches in Cornwall and the South West had the highest levels of litter:

“Study author Sarah Nelms, a PhD researcher from the University of Exeter, said: “The reasons why wet wipes and the other groups of litter have increased is probably a combination of factors, such as the rising consumption of disposable items and a lack of education about how to dispose and the impact of dropping litter.

“The rising popularity of mass balloon release event, such as funerals , are most likely to blame for the levels of balloons on beaches. Wet wipes may enter the marine environment via waste water from domestic sources. Many contain plastic and so persist indefinitely, often leading to blockages within sewerage systems. It is estimated that approximately £88 million is spent in the UK annually as a result.”

Sarah added: “Our finding that the majority of beach litter originates from the public is very concerning and indicates a need for better education on the consequences of dropping rubbish. Clean seas and beaches are hugely important for the environment and the economy as well as our own health and well-being.”

Read the full report at Cornwall Live here.