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.