Volunteers will hit Dorset beaches this weekend to clean up the coast.

They will be supporting the Marine Conservation Society’s 25th Great British Beach Clean, the biggest beach clean and survey in the UK.

The event takes place every third weekend in September as part of the marine charity’s year-round Beachwatch programme.

A clean-up is also organised at the beginning of the season.

Marine litter is not only a blight on our beaches but presents a deadly hazard for all kinds of wildlife.

The information that volunteers have collected over the last 25 years has helped make some of the most significant impacts on beach litter ever – the plastic bag charge, microplastics banned in personal care products, better wet wipe labelling, and massive support for a tax on ‘on the go’ plastic single use items.

But the MCS says more data needs to be gathered to wage war on other types of beach litter.

Residents can help by joining a clean-up close to the them.

Events are happening along the Jurassic Coast in Weymouth and Portland, west Dorset and Purbeck.

Different organisations get involved in local clean-ups including Litter Free Coast and Sea and the Dorset Wildlife Trust. Local Conservatives are also getting involved.

Clean-up equipment is usually provided but helpers are asked to bring their own gloves and should wear suitable clothing and sturdy footwear. Children must be accompanied.

In 2017, 6,944 volunteers attended beach cleans at 339 locations all over the UK.

The Great British Beach Clean is being sponsored by Waitrose for the second year in a row – cash from carrier bag sales in England goes towards supporting MCS’ year round beach clean programme.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “The south west has some of the most beautiful beaches anywhere and it’s vital we protect them for future generations and ensure our great coastline and wildlife are not damaged by plastic waste and other litter.

“It would be great if people could spare an hour or two this weekend to help clean a nearby beach and join our mission to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.”

It’s not too late to register as a volunteer online at: www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch/greatbritishbeachclean – or just turn up on the day to one of the events listed

Some of the clean-up events in Dorset

Saturday, September 15

10am-12pm, Portland, Chesil Beach. Meet at Chesil Beach visitor centre.

10.30am-12.30pm, Weymouth, Fleet Lagoon (Chesil Beach). Meet at Chesil Beach visitor centre and the team will set off for the clean and survey at 10.45am.

3pm-4.30pm, Charmouth - west of River Char. Meet bottom of steps of Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre.

Sunday, September 16

11am-1pm, Portland Chesil Beach. Meet at Chesil Beach visitor centre. Groups of 6+ must register before the event on 01305 206191. There will be 10% discount for those who help at the Taste Café.

11am-12.30pm, West Bay, West Beach. Meet at the steps going down to the beach. Organised by Joe Hackett from the West Bay Community Beach Clean Group.

1.30pm-3.30pm, Worbarrow Bay (Dorset Wildlife Trust event). Meet on the beach at the end of the footpath from the Tyneham car park. Park at Tyneham follow the footpath to the beach – approx. 1 mile. There is a suggested donation of £2 for parking. For more information contact the Dorset Wildlife Trust Wild Seas Centre on 01929 481044.