MORE than 200 bags of rubbish have been collected from along the coastline.

The Great Dorset Beach Clean, which saw litter picks at Eype, Charmouth and Lyme Regis, has been once again hailed as a success.

Despite the best efforts of Storm Hannah, more than 700 volunteers gave up their time to make a difference to the coast, retrieving 214 bags of rubbish from Lyme to the east Dorset coast.

Volunteers found a huge range of rubbish, from crab and lobster pots, metal, wood, clothes, marine rope, bio beads, nurdles, cans, glass bottles, plastic packaging, old fishing gear, deck chairs, cigarette butts, plastic bottles and wet wipes.

Nearly 40 beach cleaners, more than half of whom had never been before, turned up at Eype Mouth on Sunday to pick up rubbish.

Organiser Joe Hackett, of Litter Free Coast and Sea, said: “It was great to see so many new volunteers. As a result, we now have more than 60 locals on our mailing list for future events,”

“The beach was remarkably clean, despite the recent storm, but there was a lot of plastic rubbish on the undercliff, where it had blown, including quite a bit of old broken polystyrene. We found four big bin bags of rubbish. The usual fishing line, bottle tops, plastic straws, netting from fishing boats and three plastic syringes.”

Litter Free Coast and Sea co-ordinator Gwen Hawkins said: “We’d like to give a huge vote of thanks to all the organisations who agreed to host a clean this weekend and, most importantly, to the hundreds of volunteers who gave up their time to help clean up Dorset’s beaches in time for the summer season.

"Beach cleans are an important way for us to understand what rubbish is being found on which beaches. In turn, this helps us to work out who we can work with to help stop more getting out there in the future- after all, if we don’t reduce the amount going into the sea, these clean ups will go on forever. We’re thrilled that Dorset’s residents are passionate about protecting their part of the coast and are willing to give up their time to make a difference.”

Some volunteers recorded what was found during the cleans and realised that plastic bottles, cigarette butts and micro-plastics were among the most common things found.

Project assistant Caz Richards said: "It’s so easy to stop these kinds of things becoming litter on our beaches; bring a reusable bottle and refill it at one of the many Refill Dorset stations; use the bins provided or take your litter home. Every little action adds up to make a big difference.”

The Great Dorset Beach Clean will return next year but, in the meantime, there are still opportunities to get involved. There are now several two-minute beach clean boards around the Dorset coast that allow you to do a mini-litter pick while enjoying the beach.

The West Bay beach clean group are planning a litter pick at the beach by the promenade in July.

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