Campaigners who cleaned up UK beaches in September collected 2,309 items of litter every kilometre – the highest amount in 20 years, which they say can threaten the safety of both humans and animals.
Among the items collected, – mostly plastic – were half a TV, a French bullet-proof vest, a pack of bacon, a birdcage and a set of dentures.
Volunteers from the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) picked up a total of 223,405 bits of litter over the weekend of 20-23 September 2013.
Lauren Eyles, MCS beachwatch officer, said, “This is a disgusting tide of litter which is threatening the safety of beach visitors both human and animal. It’s coming in from the sea, being blown from the land or simply being dumped and dropped.
“After 20 years of campaigning it’s disheartening that in 2013 we are seeing worse litter levels than ever”.
Campaigners said that the situation has improved on Southern beaches, while they saw more abandoned litter on Welsh and Northwest coasts.
Of all the rubbish collected, the majority is said to come from the public, who had intentionally or accidentally left it behind, while other sources of trash are fishing, shipping, sewage-related debris and medical garbage.
The MCS said that the recent storm has worsened the situation.
“The impact of the storms has really highlighted how much litter is in our oceans with a long legacy and the amount of community support which people have shown to help remove and record it”, said Eyles.
The charity will be organising workshops and cleaning up events starting from the end of April to raise awareness among the public on how to reduce marine litter.