IT WAS the hottest day in British history, with tens of thousands flocking to the nation’s best-loved beaches.
But, as these pictures show, the aftermath was anything but rosy, with “disgusting” piles of litter covering the coastal sands. Discarded beer bottles, plastic carrier bags, crisp packets and drink cans were strewn across beaches as sun-seekers enjoyed themselves on Tropical Thursday. Marine conservation experts have warned of a shocking rise in beach litter over the past quarter of a century, with around 12 million tons of rubbish now entering the oceans every year.
Campaigners are now urging those who flock to the coast on sunny days to “leave nothing behind but your footprints”.
On Blackpool beach, where the mercury hit 90.3F (32.4C) on Thursday, a young boy was pictured kneeling down looking at piles of litter on the shoreline as the sun set.
Thousands of sun-seekers descended on the famous Lancashire seaside town as the nation was gripped by the heatwave.
Sadly, many shameless visitors left their rubbish after leaving the resort.
Southend-on-Sea, in Essex, was in a similar state, with plastic and glass waste left on the shoreline, posing a serious danger to marine wildlife, as well as local residents.
There were also distressing scenes of excessive litter at popular beaches in Margate, Kent; Tynemouth, Tyne and Wear, and Musselburgh, East Lothian.
Emily Parr, from the campaign group Love My Beach, said: “It was completely heartbreaking to see the picture taken on Blackpool beach.
“Sadly, we have come to expect this kind of thing but to see it on that scale is surprising.
“Our volunteers work tirelessly to keep beaches in the area clean so it’s devastating to see them treated like this.”
Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said the picture is not reflective of how the beach normally looks. She pointed out that there are 250 bins dotted along Blackpool promenade and street cleaning staff work 15-hour shifts to regularly empty them.
She said: “It’s disgusting behaviour. Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated teams, the beach and promenade were once again immaculate first thing this morning.
“But it’s down to the public to do their bit as well. It is a simple message – don’t litter.”
Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for Southend-on-Sea’s environment and planning department, said they were “doing everything we can to combat this menace”.
Lizzie Prior, a Marine Conservation Society officer, warned the “totally unacceptable” amount of beach litter is an increasing issue nationwide.
She said: “Plastic is being found in the stomachs of turtles, sea birds, whales and dolphins. All of these incredible marine life can be found in our own UK waters.
“Our message to beach-goers this summer is, leave nothing behind but your footprints. And if you do take plastic on to the beach, don’t leave it there, take it home and dispose of it responsibly.”