According to the MCS beach rubbish is up by 135% since 1994 with plastics making up half of the rubbish which threatens turtles, fish and seabirds. Last year the MCS estimated that there are nearly 2000 items of rubbish for every kilometre of beach.
An MCS spokesman said "It kills wildlife, looks disgusting, is a hazard to our health and costs millions to clear up. According to last year's Beachwatch report, over half of all litter found was found was made of plastic, which may take thousands of years to fully break down and generally doesn't leave the marine environment.
"Marine wildlife gets entangled in litter and accidentally ingests it. Turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and the bags block their stomachs, often leading to death from starvation. Seabirds mistake floating plastic litter for food, and over 90% of fulmars found dead around the North Sea have plastic in their stomachs."
The May clean-up is part of M&S's environmental initiative Plan A, which saw a 5p charge introduced for plastic bags in 2008, cutting use by 80% and raising over £4 million for charity. As an incentive, customers who register in advance for the clean-up will receive a money-off M&S voucher and a free M&S lunch on the day.
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