Biodiversity

Water is life! So it is not surprising that where you find water you often find a huge diversity of life - known as biodiversity. From the smallest freshwater streams and riverside ponds to enormous estuaries, expanses of salt marsh, and delicate sand dunes our freshwater and coastal habitats are diverse and wonderful.

However they are also under threat. It is estimated that biodiversity has declined by 52% over the last 50 years and it is believed that the planet is now facing its 6th extinction crisis. This unnatural rate of biodiversity loss is attributed to habitat loss, over-exploitation of species and climate change – all human induced issues. Big issues such as climate change will take international cooperation to solve but we can all make changes in our daily lives to help, such as making our homes as energy efficient as possible, recycling, saving water and cycling or walking instead of using cars all the time. The same is true of large scale litter issues such as plastics in our oceans. One report actually estimated that by 2050 there could be more plastic in our oceans than fish if we carry on the way we are.

Actions like the introduction of the carrier bag charge have been successful  - this reduced single use plastic bags by 80% in England. Behavioural change campaigns, education and direct action to remove litter are all tools that we use at Keep Britain Tidy and we know they are effective in the fight against litter

At BeachCare and RiverCare we are tackling litter and habitat loss both from a high level and from a grass roots level simultaneously. We feed into national panels and sit on partnerships made up of many other charities and government bodies who tackle marine litter, microplastics and waste reduction in order to reduce the amount of litter entering our society in the first place. But we also carry out direct action on the ground to remove litter from the environment and prevent it from getting into our rivers, wetlands and oceans. We restore habitats wherever possible and monitor the species that live there. By monitoring changes in the environment we can tell what harm litter and other issues are having on our watery habitats and the species that depend upon them. We can also tell if our work is being as effective as possible and tailor it accordingly.

Popular activities amongst our groups are wildlife surveying with many being actively involved in bat surveys, water vole surveys, otter surveys, amphibian and reptile recording, invertebrate surveys and bird monitoring. Our BeachCare groups take part in strandline surveys, shark egg surveys and marine mammal surveys to name just a few. Many also like to photograph wildlife and keep an informal record of who inhabits their local patch.