A WEEK-long clean on a west Dorset beach helped remove over 1.2million tiny plastic beads from the beach and the banks of the River Char.

The Lower Char Community Project ran the first of two large cleans of Charmouth Beach to try and remove plastic and microplastics and make the area more environmentally friendly.

The two plastics which cause pollution to the beach are nurdles and biobeads.

Biobeads are small blue or black plastic beads which are used in the sewage treatment process.

The beads had been released into the River Char after an accident at sewage treatment works up the river.

After the spillage, the water company South West Water agreed to fund a beach clean in association with the charity, costing around £12,000.

Nurdles are tiny plastic pellets which are used in making plastic products and often get washed up on beaches across the country.

A not-for-profit company of the same name - Nurdle joined the Lower Char Community Project on the beach clean with machines which the company has developed to hoover up the microplastics.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Non Profit company Nurdle helped clean the beachNon Profit company Nurdle helped clean the beach (Image: Lower Char Community Project)

Dana Assinder, founding member of the Lower Char Community Project, said: "The reason we are bothered about the plastics is because they get into the ecosystem and animals eat them.

"Birds and fish eat them and then humans can end up eating them.

"It is increasingly problematic because there is so much plastic out there.

"Before we started the clean we did an experiment and found that in one litre of biomass, there were 30g of microplastics.

"After the clean-up we managed to collect around 1.2million beads."

On Saturday, the group hosted a family-friendly Mega-micro Beach Clean alongside Nurdle and the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre.

Over 100 people of all ages descended on the beach to help clear a mountain of plastic and litter from the beach.

Mrs Assinder added: "It was amazing, we ended up with the biggest beach clean the Coast Centre has ever seen.

"Over one hundred people came down on a freezing January morning, with some coming from as far as Taunton and Tiverton.

"The atmosphere was like a festival it was so social and fun for everyone.

"Nurdle showed a lot of young groups who came down how to use their beach hoovers, they looked like Ghostbusters going around the beach.

"Thanks must go to South West Water because we couldn't have done this without their support.

In 2017, South West Water updated the technical standard covering the use of bio-beads at the company's treatment works.

A spokesperson for South West Water said: “We are helping to fund the clean-up of microplastics on Charmouth Beach as part of our commitment to protecting our region’s natural environment.

“Only eight of our 655 wastewater treatment works use biobeads, which are fitted with robust containment measures and are regularly inspected to ensure beads are kept within the treatment works.”