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Maritime Festival's fun way of turning the tide on litter

Marine litter found during a beach clean at Great Yarmouth A tide of litter, from cigarette ends to plastic bottles, is washing up on beaches and river banks in Norfolk’s holiday hotspots.

And visitors to Great Yarmouth’s Maritime Festival will be shown how everyone can do their bit to stub out a problem which is harmful to wildlife, the environment, people and economy.

The festival celebrates the town’s links to the seas and rivers which have made it a busy port and resort over the centuries – from ships and shanties, to water quality and natural environment along the coast and Broads.

Natural England staff will deliver some serious messages through fun interactive games, talks and crafts such as sculpture-making and colouring.

Marine lead advisor Fiona Tibbitt said: “People throw cigarette butts down drains thinking they have disposed of them properly – but they just get washed into a watercourse, the river and the sea. They are full of toxins and plastic.

“Sadly in 2017 Great British Beach Clean a staggering 718 bits of rubbish were found for every 100m of beach and the problem is getting worse despite greater awareness since the Blue Planet II TV series.

“Everyone can help prevent the problems by disposing of litter in bins, and recycling where possible. We aim to get that message over at the festival, including to school children as litter seems worse over the holidays,” said Miss Tibbitt.

The Maritime Festival on September 8-9 will also have displays by the RSPB, Norfolk Wildlife Trust and Broads National Park which showcase the nature on Norfolk’s doorstep and how to help it.

The weekend is organised by the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area as part of its drive to bring extra visitors and spending power to the borough.

Festival chairman Aileen Mobbs said: “The Maritime Festival is not just about ships, it is about the water they float on which is also an important part of why people visit the Great Yarmouth area – for paddling or boating. The environmental stands, like the rest of the event, are an entertaining way of learning about important issues affecting the coast.”
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