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Our ocean covers over 70% of our planet. It provides more than half the oxygen we breathe and absorbs nearly a third of our carbon emissions. But right now, we’re polluting our waters and destroying precious habitats. This is not only harming the species that live there, but also reducing the ocean's ability to help fight the climate crisis.

As the UK’s leading charity in protecting our seas, the Marine Conservation Society is determined to change this. From cleaning beaches to shaping sustainable policies, they work towards a cleaner, better-protected, healthier ocean. One we can all enjoy.

Since 2013 the Marine Conservation Society has benefitted from over £3 million raised thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Funds support the broad diversity of its work, from its Good Fish Guide and Clean Seas Programme to increasing levels of engagement through Education and the Beachwatch citizen science programme.

September is a busy time of year as the organisation prepares for its annual Great British Beach Clean, a week-long citizen science event, where hundreds of beach cleans take place up and down the UK. Since People’s Postcode Lottery support began in 2013, 22 tonnes of litter have been collected during 6,800 beach cleans by 100,000 volunteers.

These beach cleans not only help to prevent litter flowing to our seas, but the Marine Conservation Society also records it, contributing to a long-term, national dataset. This provides the evidence needed to try and stop it getting there in the first place.

As well as creating cleaner coasts and preventing the flow of plastics into our oceans, research by the University of Surrey with the beach clean participants shows that beach cleans can have a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing.

"I feel deeply connected to the ocean. It provides comfort and perspective, and allows me to connect back to myself and Mother Earth," says Marine Conservation Society volunteer, Natalie Stanton.

This year’s Great British Beach Clean takes place from Friday 17th to Sunday 26th September.

Image: Billy Barraclough

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