YOUR article - ‘Beaches report not accurate – charity’ (Western Telegraph, April 2), failed to acknowledge that the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) survey methods have been tried and tested over two decades and are being recommended by the UK Government for adoption by all European countries to monitor the levels of litter to comply with new European Directives to improve environmental quality.
As the UK’s leading marine charity working towards cleaner seas and beaches, I’m surprised that an environmental organisation that we often collaborate with over litter issues in Wales has suggested that our figures are inaccurate and misleading and that there is not a litter problem in Wales. Litter is widely recognised as a significant problem on beaches all around the globe, the UK, and in Wales.
The information gathered during the Beachwatch Big Weekend is acknowledged as a snapshot of the issue and we use this information responsibly to influence government policies such as the plastic bag levy recently adopted in Wales, and to improve waste management practices such as the introduction of angling litter bins in Pembrokeshire.
Wales has some fantastic award winning coastal stretches, and we are in no way suggesting that it is full of dirty beaches. However, keeping popular beaches clear of litter costs millions of pounds and what the results from Beachwatch Big Weekend show is that litter on Welsh beaches is an issue that must be tackled and rather than brush it under the carpet we would like to see individuals and organisations working together to stop litter at source through education and lifestyle changes.
If you would like to help clean beaches in Wales then along with Marks and Spencer.
MCS is organising a Big Beach Clean-up across Wales and the UK between April 24 and 30. You can find out more at: www.mcsuk.org/foreverfish/
MRS SAMANTHA FANSHAWE
Chief executive officer Marine Conservation Society