A PROJECT to rid Dorset's 'magnificent coastline' of litter will begin later this week.

The initiative, called the Great Dorset Beach Clean, is being spearheaded by Litter Free Dorset and will take place from Saturday, April 15 to Sunday, April 23.

Now in its 33rd year, the event will see 16 beaches cleaned all the way from Lyme Regis in the west to Christchurch in the east.

The project is open to all and families are welcome to take part joining community groups and volunteers to take care of the coast.

Emma Teasdale, Litter Free Dorset coordinator, said: “The Great Dorset Beach Clean is the perfect opportunity to enjoy Dorset’s beautiful beaches while joining together to help the environment.

"We appreciate anyone who wants to make the most of our incredible coastline and help keep our beaches clean. It’s fun, free and family friendly – so grab your pals and get down to the beach."

Last year’s Great Dorset Beach Clean saw more than 200 people take part in 17 cleans across the Dorset coast.

Volunteers cleared 100 bags of rubbish, as well as bulky items such as oil containers, tyres, a door, and a bin. 

Litter and plastics left on the beach are likely to end up in the sea, causing considerable harm to the marine environment and affecting bathing water quality.

Plastics will remain in our environment forever, gradually breaking down into smaller pieces which can be ingested by wildlife.

Humans produce about 400 million tonnes of plastic waste every year, a lot of which gets left in the environment. 

On Saturday, April 15 a beach clean will take place on Charmouth Beach, before making its way to Cogden Beach, Bridport on Sunday, April 16.

Lyme Regis will then play host to a beach clean on Saturday, April 22. 

Lizzie Prior, beachwatch manager at the Marine Conservation Society, added: “The Great Dorset Beach Clean is a fantastic project at helping us tackle issue of litter.

"At the Marine Conservation Society, we’ve been collecting litter data for almost 30 years.

"It has helped us inform our UK Governments to introduce policy such as the 5p bag charge and a ban on plastic cotton bud sticks.

"Getting involved in beach cleaning projects like the Great Dorset Beach Clean is a fantastic opportunity to get outdoors, give back and protect our ocean.”

To get involved, visit Litter Free Dorset’s social media platforms to sign up for an event nearby.

People can spread the word via social media by sharing clean-up pictures using the hashtag #GDBC23 and tagging @LitterFreeDorset. 

To find out more about the Great Dorset Beach Clean, visit www.litterfreedorset.co.uk/get-involved/