Dorset residents are being encouraged to help clean up their world-class coastline by taking part in the Great Dorset Beach Clean next month.

Every year tonnes of rubbish is washed up on shores from waste disposed of at sea.

This year on Sunday, April 26, around 27 beaches from Lyme Regis to Christchurch will be cleaned in just one day, with volunteers helping to remove plastics and other rubbish from the shore.

Jenny Penney, Senior Coastal Ranger at Dorset County Council and event co-ordinator said: “Dorset has one of the most dramatic coastlines in the UK, enjoyed by visitors and local residents alike.

“Marine and coastal litter represents a significant threat to the natural beauty, safety and wildlife of the beaches that we all enjoy.”

The Great Dorset Beach Clean, which is now in its 27th year, started in 1988 to mark the MARPOL convention, designed to prevent pollution of the English Channel.

The vast majority of litter found on Dorset’s beaches is made of plastic, which steadily accumulates if not removed.

As standard plastics never degrade, they circle around the world in ocean currents and can cause long-term damage.

Whales, dolphins and turtles can mistake floating plastic bags for the jellyfish which form part of their diet. Once swallowed, the plastic bag blocks the stomach and leads to a slow death through starvation.

This year the Great Dorset Beach Clean has been organised by the Litter Free Coast and Sea campaign in conjunction with Dorset County Council’s coastal ranger team and is supported by Jurassic Coast Trust, local district and borough councils.

The event plays a vital role in protecting and improving the appearance of Dorset’s beaches. Thousands of volunteers have contributed to the beach cleans over the past 27 years.

Last year around 700 volunteers, ranging in age from kindergarten to the elderly, collected 851 bags of rubbish. Organisers hope local people will once again give their time to help spruce up our spectacular coastline and make this year’s event the biggest yet.

Matilda Manley, Dorset Coast Forum Litter Free Coast and Sea Coordinator, added: “We need every pair of hands available on the day.

“So if you can spare the time to help, please head to one of the beaches listed, where you’ll find a beach master who will provide protective gloves and bags.”

Information will be updated for up to 27 beaches along the Dorset coast on the website nearer the time. Visit or contact Jenny Penney on 01305 228952.