The horrendous mountains of rubbish left on Thanet beaches once the sun goes down

A horrible mess at Margate Main Sands Photo Frank Leppard

Thousands of people have flocked to Thanet beaches for the hot spell this week – but they also left behind a massive amount of rubbish.

The above image, taken by Margate photographer Frank Leppard, shows the shocking state Margate Main Sands  was left in last night (July 25).

The beach is literally strewn with waste items.

Last year Thanet council collected over 5 tonnes of litter from isle parks, streets and beaches, some 3.5 tonnes of that was just from beaches.

Photo Andy Heather

Workers also cleared,100 tonnes of fly-tipped rubbish, emptied 900 tonnes of rubbish from bins and cleared 840,00 tonnes of detritus during street sweeping.

The cost of that cleaning and litter collections to Thanet District Council was £1.9million.


The street cleansing staff are contracted to work 7 days a week from 6am to 8pm in the Summer, Monday to Friday and 6am to 2.30pm Saturday and Sunday and yet still the mountains of waste fill our beaches, flow from overs-stuffed bins and spill into the streets.

There are more than 400 litter bins across the district and during the peak holidays there are an additional 180 bins in busy locations.


The clear up is often undertaken by volunteers, such as 6-year-old Betsy Skinner who collected a massive 19 bags of litter from Margate main sands on Wednesday and an army of isle groups including Western Undercliff Regeneration Group, Ramsgate Litter Forum and ROAD (Ramsgate one a day), Birchington Anti-litter Group; Broadstairs Town Team; ABC, GRASS, Walpole Bay Swimmers for Cliftonville;  and Westgate Against Rubbish to name just a few.

Two council workers tackle the litter Photo Max Scott

Litter picks have also been carried out by Newington primary, St George’s school and scout groups.

Why clean beaches (and open toilets) are essential for Thanet’s tourism business

Thanet welcomed a record 4.2 million visitors, worth a whopping £319 million to the local economy, in 2017.

The number of day trips to the Thanet district leapt by 9.9% in 2017, meanwhile the total number of nights stayed in the district increased by 4.9%.

The total number of jobs supported by tourism rose by 8.7% to 7,950, with the industry accounting for an impressive 19% of total employment across Thanet.

The Great British Beach Clean

Litter pick at the Western Undercliff

The UK’s leading marine charity, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), is looking for thousands of volunteers to clean up the nation’s beaches during its 2019 Great British Beach Clean event on September 20 – 23.

Last year,15,000 volunteers took part, that was double the number in 2017. They removed an incredible 8,550 kilos of litter from beaches around the UK.

. Volunteer cleaners become citizen scientists, as they also record the litter they find along a designated 100m stretch of every beach that’s cleaned, and it’s this aspect that has helped MCS change policy and behaviours over the last 25 years. Last year, 600 items of litter were found on every 100 metres.

Some 494 beaches around the UK coast were cleaned in 2018 (155 more than in 2017), making last year’s Great British Beach Clean the biggest MCS had ever organised.

Cleaning and surveying a beach only takes a couple of hours at most. Each beach has a coordinator, who explains how to fill in a simple data form, and then it’s just a case of grabbing a litter picker and a bin bag and filling it up with rubbish. And even if the beach looks clean at first glance, you can be sure it really isn’t!

Sign up to a clean near you or if you can’t find an event on your preferred beach, call 01989 566017 and find out how you can organise your own.


  1. To many people nowadays don’t do what we did in the sixties and seventys we were all made by our parents to put the rubbish in a bag as it was made. We could play in sand unsullied by rubbish walk anywhere between bathers you would not find any rubbish litter since the eighties it has has gone down hill people have no respect or take responsibility for their bit of beach there on makes you wonder what there houses are like as do they throw the crisp wrapping on the floor or lollipop sticks on the sofa the empty cans bottle and tea/coffee cups all over floor and furniture. They must it’s sad to see respect for the beach and oceans gone thought is a word most do not understand as if they thought about the rubbish that they throw on the beach a big percentage of it ends up in the ocean / sea it will come back to them in the fish & chips they have for lunch.

    • Most people keep their own homes too clean inside but use outdoors as a rubbish dump. They need to be educated. Take your rubbish home with you. Leave the place as you would like to find it. Take a bag with you when you go out big enough for all your rubbish and recycle it properly. Thank you.

  2. The most indefensible actions are the leaving of broken glass in the sand.
    Bare-footed children run on it, sun-bathers lie on it.
    It really is dreadful.

  3. Cycled past margate this morning around 830..don’t think i have ever seen ae much rubbish on margate beach
    I take my hat off to the volunteers that were out cleaning. Great work that unfortunately shouldn’t be required!

  4. This has not been tackled properly by TDC as it goes on year after year on the beaches and in the parks too. They manage to bring all that rubbish with them in their bags so why can’t they have some respect and take it away with them in the same bags. Not too much to ask is it? And the children learn from their parents so take note and clean up behind you. You wouldn’t like to find the beach or park in that state when you arrive!

  5. This is utterly disgraceful,iam furious & very concerned that these mindless idiots are still polluting our beaches, they must have something very wrong with them, how dare they come to such a beautiful & natural environment & trash it like this, its been happening for years now & it seems to be a growing problem. People that do this are not just lazy, disgusting morons, they also have no care for the wildlife or our Planet.

  6. Between the council and volunteers you do a fabulous job. I do however often hear that there is never enough bins and they aren’t emptied enough? If this is true surely it could be addressed.
    Also, with the revenue tourism turns over would it be viable to employ litter police on busy days?

  7. Perhaps we the public have it wrong looking at the beach it would seem the beach users are happy to be on a beach covered in litter perhaps TDC should leave it covered in litter if that’s how the beach go’ers like. Me I wont use the beach but holiday in another part of england were the beach go’ers like a clean beach . Perhaps the type of people Margaret beach attracts are the messy type and the Turner centre attracts the arty type, what a mixture !!!!

  8. So why is TDC to blame for the rubbish that people leave on the beach? As you say good parenting and behaviour from adults to set an example and clear there own mess would be a start, but as a society we are forever trying to blame someone else instead of taking responsibility for our own mess.
    Yes TDC can do better and some of their divisions are close to incompetent but to blame them for everything that happens in Thanet (which appears to be happening on a daily basis) creates more animosity around the area and gives people the opportunity to join the condemnation of TDC FOR mess they create.

  9. When the council won’t even tell me what day my rubbish is collected (website says thursday, appears to have changed to Thursday) they clearly have no grip on anything. That said, people could put at least into one bag and leave it. There maybe 400 litter bins but try to find one when you need it. Likely if you do it’s full anyway

  10. In Folkestone they employ young people for the summer holidays as beach or pier wardens, answering questions and checking up on people to see if they are Ok, and picking up the odd bit of rubbish that can get blown about. If we had some young people stationed along the promenades in the morning they could tell visitors where the nearest toilets (!!!) and hopper bins are and provide rubbish sacks if necessary. Later in the day they could go round the beach with sacks asking people for any disposable items, or reminding them where the hoppers are. We need more hopper bins. Other bins are too small for this amount of rubbish.

  11. in the 50’s and 60’s Margate sands was always packed with visitors,all summer long not just the odd weekend at the end of the day it was like no-one had been there,Whats happened to people ,esp. after all the publicity of how we are polluting our seas ?

  12. a lot of this is due to bad parenting kids are not disciplined in social activities nowadays so to all you parents spare the rod and spoil the child just does not work take note or it will come back to you in time

    • Arthur exactly what I said no respect anymore for others who do remove there rubbish. As Mary said in the 50s&60s beaches were packed at end of day you would think no one had been on beaches apart from the footprints in the sand 70s were same as I remember them too. We have a tanoy speaker system for the lifeguard why doesn’t someone remind people that the beach is for all and to take their rubbish to the nearest bin I know some people don’t listen to the tanoy or music is to loud but it might just help a bit and it won’t cost anything as lifeguards are already there.







    • John absolutely just got to your message didn’t see before replying to Arthur so many things can be done with no extra cost as you say.

  14. The council are probably upset because they have to do some work for their salaries. All the dog poo bins are full too. Folkstone beaches and parks are spotless because the council get off their sofas and work.

  15. Thursday evening at Botany Bay, watched people bringing their rubbish up from beach and leaving it at base of large wheeled bins, too lazy to lift lid and put inside. I checked and bins were not full.also no bins at Palm bay

  16. As some have said I wouldnt lay the blame 100% at TDC for this, yes perhaps more bins and more regular emptying of bins will help. At the end of the day people are just more dirty and dont give a toss about the place they live in. I was brought up to put rubbish in a bin or take it home with us. Now people expect the councils to do everything for them , the bins are full so take your rubbish home dont just leave it on the floor/beach. You brought it with you than take it home.

    People are just lazy and dont give two hoots. I guess the day trippers knows they wont be back for a year or month so isn’t bothered about the mess they leave behind. It’s just the mind set of alot of people in this country, just look at the roadsides, the parks, the high streets, litter everywhere. Sit in the town for an hour or two and just watch the people, litter being dropped, colourful language, beer drinking, parents f’ing and blinding at their kids. Sure thanet has seen a big increase in people with money in the area going by the increase in top end cars. But thanet is still thanet!!!. Society is broken.

  17. We went to the beach near the chyne in Ramsgate at 5pm and there wasn’t any litter bins and the poo bins were full up and rubbish piled underneath, were were the big litter bins it doesn’t encourage people to pick up their litter.

  18. I think for the revenue that a beach brings to shops, stalls, restaurants etc, the council should foot this clean up expense..

    • but where does the extra money come from for tdc to cover their cost, they don’t receive any revenue from visitors to the beach!!!!!

  19. Just leave it for when they come back the next time they will just have to lay in there own mess they will think twice about leaving any more trash #pigs of thanet

  20. Well it looks like it’s going to be the same today. The beach looks like a shanty town with the amount of gazebos on it. I agree with the other comments about leaving the rubbish on the beach. It’s the same groups that come down every year and leave all their mess. Maybe a bill should be sent to their councils.

  21. My family and I visited a beach near Walpole Bay the other day it was very hot and very busy. As a family ( there were 5 adults and 7 young children), all enjoying ourselves playing and eating our lunch on the beach, my daughter placed a bag on her deck chair and said” any rubbish you have it goes in the bag” and it did!! It never ceases to amaze me why that isn’t done by everyone, it’s our waste and we took it home to place in our bin. Day trippers can still place rubbish in a bag and place it in any bin in the street or take it home. I live in Garlinge and it makes me sad to see the beaches left like this, there is no excuse just pure laziness thinking it’s somebody else’s problem, it’s not it’s the general public using a public beach!! TAKE YOUR RUBBISH HOME PLEASE!!

  22. Perhaps this picture and a clean beach picture needs to be put on the inside of the coaches somewhere, so those that visit us can then see how bad the littering is and how the beach was possibly left the day before their visit. I’m sure they pack up without a backwards glance. Maybe TDC could also hand out rubbish bags to people as they get off the coaches too. Not ideal but another strategy perhaps. ????

  23. I saw this rubbish and I am sure it is because everyone ran from the beach when the storms came over. There where hundreds of people taking shelter.

    Don’t get me wrong there is no excuse for this rubbish it made me feel sick as I drove past.

  24. Way back in the 60’s onwards whenever we went to the beach Mum and Dad always took a bag for rubbish with us, and her trusty empty jamjar.

    After we had eaten or finished our lunch and had finished with whatever soft drinks Mum had packed for us, all the rubbish went into the bag to take home with us!

    The empty jamjar you ask… Well Mum and Dad would ensure it was half full of sand and whenever they had a cigarette it was distinguished into the jamjar throughout the day instead of being burried next to wherever they were sitting!!

    Why can’t everyone be like this, I will never know and then it won’t get left so bad at the end of the day for others to clean up each morning before everyone descends on us again!!

    I am 57 and hubby is 62 and both of us follow these simple
    procedures wherever we go out for the day or whatever!

    But, I will say this, where as there might be a lot of bins on the pavement there aren’t many on the sand and none of the bins are emptied often enough especially on these busy not sweltering days that we are having at the moment! ????

  25. It totally outrageous that people have no respect when discarding their rubbish, if there are no bins, it’s still your rubbish take it home stop littering your beaches your country side take it home. I guess these people are so disrespectful and have no common morals at all, I bet they wouldn’t do this in there home but then again they probably do. The cost to clear up your mess is coming out of local fund which mean that things that really matter like schools the elderly homeless people suffer again for your carelessness and disregard apalling behaviour, I hope you read all these message.

    • I don’t know what’s wrong with people no thought for other people music blaring out loud it shouldn’t be aloud the beach isfor everyone & they don’t spend money because they bring everything with them

  26. How about pointing out that TDC has withdrawn all beach cleaning operation from thanet beaches. They re used to be teams of cleaners and bins in the beach but now, nothing. We pay our taxes but we don’t get the service, oh but it’s OK to charge extortionate rates for parking on joss Bay and whilst at it expand the pay zone to the road (elmwood avenue) where lo Al tax payers usually park. Come on TDC, have a look at yourself!

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