Project: Beachwatch – Great British Beach Clean

Location: Brighton, UK

Date: 2010 – Ongoing

Charity Website:






Each year, around 6000 volunteers gather across over 120 British beaches for Beachwatch, the Great British Beach Clean.

Beachwatch, the Marine Conservation Society’s national beach cleaning and litter surveying programme, is also part of a global movement. Volunteers in over 70 countries join the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) to participate in beachcleans worldwide.  It takes place on the same third weekend in September every year.

Volunteers worldwide tally waste to help in building a picture of beach litter around the world.  Mooncup Ltd have been taking part in the beach cleans at our seaside home in Brighton since 2010. And in 2017, we started to participate as organisers of one for the Marine Conservation Society.

Once figures are collated, a global snapshot of marine litter emerges that can then be used in awareness-raising, to influence policy makers and run campaigns to reduce marine litter at source.

Alongside fishing, public and shipping litter, one of the main sources of the UK’s coastal clutter is Sewage Related Debris (SRD) – basically, the end of the line for all the products we flush down our toilets. Of course, it’s this un-sanitary waste that the Mooncup team feel particularly passionate about…though the number of random plastic pieces, sweet wrappers and cotton bud sticks on our stretch of beach is pretty disturbing too!

Lucy holding sanitary pad waste

During Beachwatch 2013, an average of 17 used feminine hygiene items (tampons, applicators, panti-liners, backing strips and pads) were found on each kilometre of British beach. That’s not even counting feminine wipes or plastic wrappers.

If the tampon applicator that Eileen found is anything to go by, our work here still isn’t quite done…