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Be part of the biggest ever UK wide beach litter pick!

THE UK's leading marine charity, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), is looking for thousands of volunteers to clean up the nation's beaches as part of its 25th anniversary Great British Beach Clean event, running over 14 September to 17 September 2018.

Being by the sea makes us feel better, and the Great British Beach Clean isn't just a good day out for people who love, or live near, the coast; it's great for wildlife and the beach too!

The Great British Beach Clean, now in its 25th year, not only spruces up hundreds of beaches around the coast, but volunteers also record the litter they find, and it's this aspect that has really helped MCS change policy and behaviours over the last quarter of a century.

The 5p carrier bag charge, a ban on microbeads in wash off products, consultations on a plastic tax and deposit return schemes, reduction in the use of plastic straws and the banning of lantern and balloon releases; all have come about following compelling evidence gathered over decades of MCS beach cleans.

The 2017 Great British Beach Clean saw almost 7,000 volunteer beach cleaners pick up record amounts of litter from 339 UK beaches; a staggering 718 bits of rubbish from every 100 metres cleaned. That was a 10% rise in the amount of beach litter picked up during the 2016 event.

Beach cleans take place from Cornwall to Cumbria, Denbighshire to County Down, Hampshire to the Highlands and all places in between. The event incorporates the Great Channel Islands Beach Clean and the Great Northern Irish Beach clean.

For the 2nd year running, the Great British Beach Clean in England is being sponsored by Waitrose who are supporting MCS' year round beach and river clean programme.

Beach litter has steadily risen over the 24 years since MCS began recording it. However, there was some good news last year because the number of single-use plastic bags found on UK beaches almost halved between 2015 and 2016. MCS says this was almost certainly due to the charges at the checkout and shows the impact that behaviour change can have on beach litter.

In 2017, 'on the go' items made up 20% of all litter found on the UK's beaches and 63% of all litter that comes from the public. MCS categorises:- cardboard cups, plastic cutlery, foil wrappers, straws, sandwich packets, lolly sticks, plastic bottles, drinks cans, glass bottles, plastic cups, lids and stirrers as:- 'on the go...'  The charity says the figures highlight the nation's lazy habits when it comes to littering. The amount of litter suggests we're treating the outdoors as a big dustbin, happy to dump at will rather than keep hold of our litter until we find a bin.

"Taking part in the Great British Beach Clean really can make a difference. In previous years when we've highlighted increases in dog poo bags and sewage related debris found on beaches, we've seen drops in numbers subsequently. Due to the massive increase in wet wipes we found between 2013 and 2015 we were able to launch our 'Wet Wipes Turn Nasty' campaign which has resulted in improvements in labelling, removal of plastic from 'flushable' wet wipes in retailers' own brands, and shown retailers the need for their flushable wipes to pass water industry standards." says Lizzie Prior, MCS Beach and River Clean Project Officer.

Cleaning and surveying a beach only takes a couple of hours at most. Each beach has a coordinator, who explains how to fill in a simple data form, and then it's just a case of grabbing a litter picker and a bin bag and filling it up with rubbish!  If you can't find a beach clean near you, you can organise 1, too!

Lizzie Prior added:- "Beach litter is a serious environmental problem... But the solution is in our hands. We want the 25th Great British Beach Clean weekend to be the biggest ever. The BBC's Blue Planet II has given the UK public a real understanding of the pollution crisis facing our oceans and people really want to make a difference. The more volunteers we have, the better it'll be for our seas."

Tor Harris, Head of Responsible Sourcing and Sustainability at Waitrose, said:- "Our coast is important to all of us so the Great British Beach Clean is a key opportunity to reduce pollution, especially from plastics. We're really happy to support such a fantastic event and this builds on our environmental commitment to ensure that all our packaging is widely recyclable, reusable or home compostable by 2025. We'd love for our customers and Partners (employees) to sign up and organise local beach cleans to improve them for wildlife and all of us."

Join the The Great British Beach Clean (part of the Waitrose Beach and River Clean up) and be part of the biggest and most influential fight against marine litter in the UK.

Players of People's Postcode Lottery also support the Marine Conservation Society beach litter programme.

Sign up to a clean near you at:- MCSUK.Org/GreatBritishBeachClean or call:- 01989 566017.

Liverpool Pride is getting ready to awash the City with the colours of the rainbow
Photograph by David Munn Photography

THE free 2 day festival, Liverpool Pride, takes place over Saturday, 28 July and Sunday, 29 July 2018 and the City is set to be awash with the colours of the rainbow as this year's theme:- '#AllTogetherNow' gears up to promote unity for the LGBT+ and wider community.

For Saturday's events the festival will go back to its roots with a return to Tithebarn Street, steps away from the City's Gay Quarter. Sunday's events will take place across the City with a Sundae Funday Festival Hub, at The Bluecoat, on School Lane, within Liverpool's City Center.

The weekend will begin with the 9th Annual Pride March, on Saturday, 28 July 2018. Beginning at St Georges Hall participants will weave their way through the City in a sea of colour celebrating the festival theme #AllTogetherNow and finish at Moorfields.

Following the annual march attention will turn to the day's festivities with three stages packed full of entertainment.

The Barclays Main Stage from headline sponsor Barclays will be situated by the iconic Superlambanana, while the Manchester Airport San Francisco stage will be in the square between Vernon Street and Cunliffe Street, sponsor Manchester Airport (the UK's global gateway in the North) will also host the Manchester Airport Boston Bar.

Headlining the Barclays Main Stage is pop icon Sophie Ellis Bextor. International drag star and Celebrity Big Brother winner Courtney Act, the cast of Kinky Boots, House of Suarez, Rogue Minogue, Queen Zee and many more will also join the main stage line up.

The Manchester Airport San Francisco Stage has been carefully curated by the Liverpool Queer Collective who have created a unique cabaret programme which is not to be missed.

Day two of Liverpool Pride takes place, on Sunday, 29 July 2018, with Sundae Funday, at The Bluecoat. The family focused day will feature:- dance, arts and craft activities, food market, and barbecue in the Bluecoat Garden, alongside Pride events at the International Slavery Museum, Walker Art Gallery, Museum of Liverpool and Liverpool Cathedral.

Returning for the third consecutive year the Come Out of the Shadows campaign will light up the cities most iconic buildings in the colours of the Rainbow and Trans flags in a City wide display of solidarity for the LGBT+ community from 19 July to 2 August 2018. Buildings lighting up include:- St John's Beacon, Anfield, St Georges Hall and Liverpool Town Hall.

In addition to Pride weekend a whole host of LGBT+ events will take place across the City to celebrate the month of Pride.

In theatre, the unmissable LGBT+ drama comedy The Ruby Slippers comes to Liverpool's Royal Court from 24 July to 28 July 2018, starring Emmerdale's Kurtis Stacey. Grin Theatre's annual Queertet comes to The Casa on 26 July and 27 July 2018.

Pride at the Pictures presents:- 'All About My Mother' on Monday, 23 July 2018 and Divine Divas in association with Brazilica, on Monday, 30 July 2018.

Keep up to date with Liverpool Pride's new announcements on the event's website:- LiverpoolPride.Co.UK that will also contain a full festival programme.

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