Syringes and dummy found during Clevedon clean-up

PUBLISHED: 08:00 18 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:09 18 December 2019

Optical Express staff members working in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society.

Optical Express staff members working in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society.

Archant

Syringes were among hundreds of items found during a beach clean this month.

The clean-up operation, carried out by Optical Express and Marine Conservation Society, at Clevedon Beach and Salthouse Bay, marks the beginning of work between the two organisation to tackle plastic pollution and protect marine wildlife.

Along the 100 metre stretch, the group cleared 291 items including pencils, syringes, a plastic dummy and a wellington boot.

According to the group, the most common form of pollution was from small fragments of unidentifiable plastic, many of which were hidden underneath the sand.

The project will see Optical Express staff members nationwide join and help organise vital beach cleaning events.

Abbie Edbrooke, heritage and outreach officer at Clevedon 
Pier, said: "We rely on support from volunteers and these beach clean projects only work because of companies like Optical Express.

"I work with the Marine Conservation Society all year round and you can take part in a one day voluntary session.

"You might think that this beautiful beach looks clean but there's an awful lot of plastic pollution."

Discarded plastic products are a significant source of marine pollution, making up 8.5 per cent of all beach litter according to the Marine Conservation Society.

Contact lenses and their packaging are a key contributor.

Research carried out by Optical Express suggests at least one in four people dispose of used contact lenses by flushing them down the toilet or sink.

Optical Express' chief executive, David Moulsdale, said: "While cleaning up plastic pollution is a vital part of this work, our real aim should be 
to cut down on the amount of plastic products we use in the first place.

"I'd encourage everyone to look carefully at the single-use plastic products they use and consider replacing them with more sustainable, ocean-friendly alternatives."

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