A war has been waged against litter on Dorset beaches as residents and visitors are encouraged to 'Slam Dunk the Junk'.

Litter Free Coast and Sea has launched the Slam Dunk the Junk campaign to try and limit the amount of littering on beaches after a huge increase in rubbish being abandoned was seen as lockdown restrictions eased last month. The campaign is running at a number of Dorset beaches including Lyme Regis, West Bay, Hive Beach and Chesil Beach.

Litter Free Coast and Sea is a partnership initiative hosted by Dorset Coast Forum and has been running since 2012. It uses research on behavioural change psychology theory to target the audience of its campaigns.

Matilda Manley from Litter Free Coast and Sea explained the theory behind the campaign title. She said: "Slam Dunk the Junk is fun and non preachy. No one likes being told of or told what to do, especially at this time when there are so many rules to follow for social distancing etc. We have designed the artwork to be liked by adults and children alike – children are great influencers so if we can get them to like it, they can make sure their parents are following the message!

"Some of the banners use the messaging 'Most people who visit this beach use the bin or take their litter home. Will you?'. Research shows that people don’t change behaviour based on rational persuasion; they change to conform to those around them. People are like sheep; we subconsciously copy what others are doing. This is why we have to highlight all the people that DO put their litter in the bin or take it home, not those that do not in our campaign messaging.

Matilda added: "The campaign was designed with local graphic designer Rowena Taylor, West Bay Community Forum, #5thingsclear, Litter Free coast and Sea volunteers, Town Councils, Beach Managers and landowners up and down the coast. It was a real collaborative effort."

Litter Free Coast and Sea has also stuck stickers on bins to encourage beachgoers to take their rubbish home with them if the bins are full.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.litterfreecoastandsea.co.uk