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Still walking to save some sea...





Press Release May, 2007.

Last year artist Fran Crowe, from Woodbridge in Suffolk, was really shocked to learn that, on average, there are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter per square mile of ocean worldwide - so much so she was determined to do something about it! Fran resolved to ‘save’ one square mile of ocean by collecting 46,000 pieces of rubbish whilst walking on beaches near her home in Suffolk, whilst at the same time raising funds for the Marine Conservation Society’s “Coastal Challenge”.
Six months on, Fran is still working hard on her very ambitious challenge! So far Fran has walked 127 km along beaches near her home in Suffolk and collected over 227kgs of rubbish. In total, she has collected over 33,000 pieces of rubbish, mostly plastic, and raised over £400 in sponsorship for the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).
Fran says, ‘It is horrifying just how much rubbish gets left or swept up on our beaches. I keep thinking that it will become more difficult to find rubbish on my local beaches but each time I visit still more has been left behind or washed up. The 33,000 pieces I have collected are literally just a splash in the ocean... It’s a frightening picture of our society that we use so much plastic and dispose of our debris so carelessly, endangering our wildlife in this way. I love walking by the sea so this is the ideal way to do my bit to help.
According to the UN, there are on average 46,000 pieces of plastic litter per square mile of ocean worldwide, causing the death of over 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and one million seabirds each year as a result of their eating or getting entangled with plastic debris. The latest MCS Beachwatch Report shows that litter on UK beaches has increased by 90.3% since 1994, from 1,045 items per kilometre in 1994 to 1,988.7 items of litter per kilometre in 2006 – an average of nearly two items for every metre stretch of beach!
Fran, a recent graduate from Norwich School of Art and Design, has been just been awarded a bursary for a solo exhibition at the Babylon Gallery ( in Ely. She will be using this exhibition, which will take place in July, to raise further awareness of the problems of marine litter, bringing much of what she has found into the gallery! Ideally she would like to create a permanent collection of marine litter but the rest will go for recycling.
Fran adds, ‘My family think I am mad but Matt, our dog who comes with me on most of my walks, thinks he is in heaven with all the time we spend on the beach and even helps me carry things sometimes!
Another of Fran’s projects, Fresh Air, which examines issues of air quality (especially in East Anglia) has been on show as part of the Platform 7 exhibition at Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery and will be at the Margaret Harvey Gallery in St. Albans from 14th June.
More details of Fran’s work and her progress with her 46000 Challenge can be found at her website,, Fran is hoping to raise £1000 towards the Marine Conservation Society Coastal Challenge - to sponsor her, visit to
Everyone is welcome to take part in the Marine Conservation Society’s Beachwatch weekend – September 15th and 16th 2007, when volunteers all around the UK survey beaches for litter, and also clean the beach. Call 01989 566017, or see
For further information about the project or to arrange an interview or photocall, please contact:
Fran Crowe: e-mail
For further information regarding beach litter and the Coastal Challenge, see or contact the MCS Press Office on 01989 566017.
Fran’s exhibition of marine litter will be at the Babylon Gallery from 30th June until 5th August. For more information, see or contact tel 01353 616993.
Platform 7 features the work of 26 graduates from Eastern England and will be at the Margaret Harvey Gallery in St Albans from 14th June until 28th July. For further information, see

Matt with some local wildlife found on Covehythe beach

Editor’s notes
1) The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is the UK charity dedicated to the protection of our seas, shores and wildlife. MCS campaigns for clean seas and beaches, sustainable fisheries, protection of marine life and their habitats, and the sensitive use of our marine resources. Through education, community involvement and collaboration, MCS raises awareness of the many threats that face our seas and promotes individual, industry and government action to protect the marine environment. MCS provides information and guidance on many aspects of marine conservation and produces the annual Good Beach Guide (, the Good Fish Guide and on sustainable seafood, as well as promoting public participation in volunteer projects and surveys such as Beachwatch, Adopt-a-Beach, Seasearch and Basking Shark Watch. MCS is currently calling for an effective Marine Bill for England and the UK and complimentary legislation in Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland, to deliver better protection for marine species and habitats, including a network of highly protected marine reserves and a system for marine spatial planning.
2) The 46,000 figure is quoted from a United Nations Environment Programme Report “Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Deep Waters and High Seas”. See

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