Litter on our beaches is killing birds

What's Your Story?


Marine litter is a dangerous problem. Not only does it looks bad, but birds and sea life are mistaking it for food.

Effie, age 9, investigates where marine litter comes from, what effects it has and what we can do to stop it happening. She also spoke to a volunteer from the charity Surfers Against Sewage – watch the video for the full interview.

How does the litter get here in the first place?
Well, there are a few different ways litter gets into the ocean. It can be left by people littering. A key way is that it can get into our waterways and washed down into the ocean. So that might be waste from businesses, or litter in the street that runs off into the drains, or flushing the wrong kind of items down the toilet.

How does litter affect sea life?
There are lots of different ways. A main way is birds and animals eating marine litter, thinking it’s something delicious and yummy because it’s nice and colourful. Then they feel full, but they are not getting any real food, so they end up sort of starving because they haven’t got any space left in their bellies – it’s full of plastic and other bits of rubbish. Another key way is that it gets caught in fishing gear out at sea. It’s really hard to see in the water and they can end up getting trapped and that can be really damaging.

So what can we do to stop this happening?
One of the really nice ways it getting involved with a beach clean, like we are today. And it’s been shown to have quite a significant impact, so it’s nice to know that you can make a difference by cleaning up the rubbish that you see. Another way is at a government level, shouting about the things you care about, or signing petitions. The final way is by education, sharing what you know about marine litter, getting the message out there and raising awareness.

So, what can we do to help? If you leave a beach – pick it up. If it’s yours pick it up, if it’s somebody else’s, pick it up. Don’t leave litter on a beach.

Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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sarawalter · 6 years ago

Has 5 p for plastic bags made a big difference?

happy4456 · 5 years ago

sarawalter, I don't really think so because people just bring their own bags anyway.

· 5 years ago

i feel really sorry for the birds they want to make a living with there family until they come along with something that looks like food....ITS SO SAAAD