Sea Shepherd UK’s Marine Debris Campaign

The Issue:

For years the oceans have been regarded as a dumping ground. According to estimates there are 86 million tonnes of plastic in the oceans, more than 5 trillion pieces and most of them less than 5mm in size.
We’re adding 8 million tonnes to this every year and in some parts of the ocean,  plastic particles outnumber plankton by 26 to 1.
In 30 years, if we carry on this way, the weight of plastic in the oceans will be greater than the weight of fish.
Often the only time we come face to face with this marine debris is when we are walking along the beach, but what we don’t see is the damage that litter and discarded fishing gear do to wildlife. On Sea Shepherd campaigns all around the globe, we are seeing the effects of these plastics on sea birds, turtles, whales, dolphins and fish.

What is Sea Shepherd UK’s Marine Debris Campaign (MDC)?
Our MDC is part of a global effort by the Sea Shepherd movement around the world to bring volunteers and members of the general public together to undertake beach cleans in their local area.
Beach cleans are an excellent opportunity for people to witness first hand the effects their everyday choices as consumers have on our most valuable natural resource, the oceans. We encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to join us for a few hours where we will clean an area of local beach, examine the findings and chat about how we can encourage others to reduce their impact on our beaches. We will then ensure that the collected rubbish is disposed of responsibly in cooperation often with local councils or recycled where possible.
After a brief safety briefing, one of Sea Shepherd UK’s volunteers will hand out litter picking equipment and those attending will normally move up the beach as a team, collecting everything they find that doesn’t belong there.
Our beach cleans are also a great social gathering, giving like-minded people an opportunity to meet others in their area. Often non-SSUK volunteers have then gone on to undertake their own beach cleans or even better, have become SSUK volunteers and managed cleans under our MDC banner.
If you would like to know more about our beach cleans or would like to suggest a local beach that would benefit from our help, please email:
To find out when we’ll be cleaning in your area, you can visit our Sea Shepherd UK Facebook page and click on our ‘Events’ section. Every week we announce new beach cleans and we would love to see you and your family join us on our campaign. You can even purchase Marine Debris Team T-shirts and Hoodies in the Sea Shepherd UK webstore to help support the campaign with equipment…and to look the part when joining us at a beach clean!

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