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PRESS RELEASE - My 46000 challenge




Press Release November, 2006.

Walking to save some sea

Artist Fran Crowe was so dismayed when she learned that on average there are 46000 pieces of plastic litter per square mile of ocean worldwide, that she made up her mind to do something about it! Fran has resolved to ‘save’ one square mile of ocean by collecting 46000 pieces of rubbish whilst walking on beaches near her home in Suffolk. Fran is also raising funds for the Marine Conservation Society’s “Coastal Challenge”.

Fran says, ‘I am particularly concerned about the increase in plastic debris on our beaches which presents a real risk to wildlife as well as spoiling the beach for visitors. According to the UN, there are on average 46000 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 eating or getting entangled with plastic debris. I just couldn’t believe it and felt I had to do something. I love walking on the beach so this seemed the obvious thing to do.’

Not only is Fran helping to save wildlife and clean up our beaches, she is also raising money for the Marine Conservation Society by seeking sponsorship as part of their Coastal Challenge. ‘Helped’ by her dog, Matt, Fran has so far walked 38.2km and collected 8137 items, weighing 65.5 kg. At this rate, Fran will need to walk a further 178km and pick up 305kg of litter in order to meet her challenge! The distance she covers is all part of the Marine Conservation Society’s Coastal Challenge which hopes to have enough people taking part to have covered the entire distance around our beautiful UK coastline - 18,470 km (11,477 miles) - and to have raised £50,000 towards their vital work, all by World Oceans Day on the 8th June, 2007!

Bethan Jones, MCS Litter Projects Co-ordinator said, "Marine litter is a huge global problem which MCS has been tackling for over a decade by co-ordinating the national Adopt-a-Beach and Beachwatch cleanup and survey projects. We are really grateful for Fran's support and think that her great idea and original approach will help raise awareness of beach litter. It just goes to show that we can all do our bit to help."

Kattherine Stephenson, fundraising coordinator at MCS, adds, "I was really inspired by Fran's innovative idea to take part in Coastal Challenge by collecting a square miles worth of litter – raising awareness of the problem of litter on our coast as well as raising money to help MCS continue our vital projects to protect our seas, shores and wildlife. At the moment Fran is predicting that she will bring us 216 km closer to achieving our Coastal Challenge target, which is the distance around our UK coastline – the longest in Europe at a massive 18,470 km."

Fran adds, "I have found some pretty amazing things on my walks - as well as the usual hundreds of bottle tops, balloons and bits of fishing line, I have found a crisp packet which is over 32 years old (it had an offer with an end date of 1974!) and a carved plaque which I think I have traced back to a maritime artist and woodcarver in Annapolis, Maryland, USA.”

Fran hopes to create some art with some of what she finds and maybe even a permanent collection of marine litter - the rest will go for recycling. In the meantime, she is taking lots of photographs and tracking her progress on her website. More details of Fran’s work and progress with her 46000 Challenge (including how to sponsor her) can be found at her website, or go to


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.

Photos attached:
Fran collecting litter at Orford Ness
Fran’s dog, Matt, helps with the collection
A 32 year old crisp packet
The collection from one walk

Editors 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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