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Conservationists are calling for more action to reduce the plastic waste as research suggest that it makes up three quarters of the rubbish found on British beaches.
While the amount of coastline litter is falling, plastic still poses a problem for the environment and wildlife as it forms the most common items found on the coast, according to the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).
More than 6,000 volunteers took part in the group's annual "Great British beach clean" in September, collecting a total of 5,065 kilograms of litter.
And it appears efforts to curb problem plastic waste such as cotton bud sticks and single use bags are having an impact, with a fall in those types of litter, the MCS said.
But with 75% of all the items collected made of plastic or polystyrene, the conservation charity is calling for ambitious policies that would phase out the manufacture and sale of plastic products in the UK.
The five most common litter items on UK beaches were plastic or polystyrene pieces which made up 112 items per 100 metres on average, followed by cigarette stubs, crisp and sweet packets and lolly sticks, plastic caps and lids and string or cord.
Cotton bud sticks moved out of the UK's top 10 most common items of rubbish this year, with the number recorded the lowest in the beach clean's 28-year history.
Just six sticks were found per 100 metres of surveyed beach - down from 15 in 2020, which the MCS said was an indication policies to outlaw plastic cotton buds - by Scotland in 2019, followed by England last year - were working.
Numbers of single-use plastic bags on beaches have also continued to drop, from an average of 13 per stretch of beach in 2013 to just three in 2021.
Levels of personal protective equipment (PPE) found littered on beaches were similar to 2020 when masks were made mandatory across the UK because of the pandemic.
Nearly a third (32%) of beaches cleaned in the annual event found PPE litter, although masks were well down the list of the most common rubbish items found, ranking 59th out of 121.
Lizzie Prior, beachwatch manager at the Marine Conservation Society said: "The ongoing downward trend we're seeing in litter levels on UK beaches is a positive sign that the actions we're taking at a personal, local and national level are working.
"But we can't sit back and relax, now is the time for even more ambitious action."
Dr Laura Foster, head of clean seas at the Marine Conservation Society, warned: "Governments' current piecemeal approach to single-use plastics policy just won't cut it anymore.
"While we're seeing a downward trend in litter on beaches, we're still seeing huge volumes of plastic washing up on our shores.
She said comprehensive and ambitious single-use plastics policies which reduce the manufacture and sale of throwaway items was the quickest way of phasing out plastic from the environment.
There should be a shift away from single-use items to having only reusable options available for things like cutlery, refillable and reusable containers being the norm and commitments for all packaging to be reusable or recyclable, MCS said.