05 August 2019

A large cube filled with litter has been installed on City Beach to highlight the danger litter poses to the wider environment and marine wildlife in particular.

The Perspex cube was installed on Thursday 26 July as part of an anti-littering campaign by the council’s waste contractor, Veolia. The cube has banner stickers along the top edges with different anti-littering messages and has a selection of items found in the beach following the Kik-Plastic beach clean with Kiko Matthews over the weekend.

In addition to the cube, 20 floor stickers branded with the Keep Britain Tidy message ‘Bin it or take it home!’ have been placed along the seafront, with important information to how beach litter can harm marine life. Globally, it is estimated that around 10 million tonnes of litter end up in the marine environment every year.

Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “There is no place in society for litter of any sort. Southend’s seven miles of coastline attract over 7m visitors a year and sadly some of them leave our beaches littered with ugly and dangerous waste.

“Only this weekend, pictures of Southend beaches left strewn with rubbish after a hot and busy day were shared widely on social media and picked up by the national press.

“We clearly need to do more to drive home the message that littering is not acceptable and open people’s eyes up to the colossal damage it is doing to our seas and the creatures that live in them. The cube and the floor stickers are just a part of our plans to eradicate this kind of behaviour from our shores.

“We have recently become the first and only town in the UK to sign up to PlastiCity, a European project aimed at increasing the quantities of plastic recycled commercially.

“On Saturday, we welcomed Kiko Matthews to the town for her penultimate stop of her beach cleaning tour of Britain, thanks to the wonderful work of Southend Beach Care Group and Shoebury Resident’s Association for setting up the event. Over 100 people turned up, including 21 children, all keen to help clean our beaches.”

Keith McGurk Veolia's Regional Director said: “Keeping the beaches in Southend clear from litter is an endless task for Veolia's operatives and the many volunteers who care passionately about where they live, and appreciate the harmful effect litter can have on marine life. We know how proud local residents are of their beaches, and want to send the message that littering is not acceptable.

“The cube that has recently been installed really highlights how much of a negative impact we can have on our environment, and we would urge people to use the litter bins or take their rubbish home with them when visiting the beach.”

The Council has set up a further campaign, #MyBeachIsYourBeach, which follows on from the successful #MyStreetIsYourStreet campaign, aimed at promoting clean streets within Southend, actively asking residents to help out where they can.