Best of our wild blogs: 22 Nov 16

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Cambodia: Calls to Cooperate in Sand Export Data


Civil society members and Ministry of Mines and Energy officials came together recently to discuss discrepancies in the export figures of sand from Cambodia to Singapore, after 47 NGOs wrote an open letter early this month to the ministry seeking an explanation.

The letter from civil society groups was in response to UN data showing discrepancies in sand exports from Cambodia over the last 10 years. The UN Commodity Statistics Trade (UN Comtrade) database shows 2.8 million tons of exports to Singapore, while Singapore reported 72.7 million tons of imports from Cambodia.

Secretary of State and ministry spokesman Dith Tina welcomed the presence of 13 NGOs and chided the other 34 who were not present. He said they were more preoccupied with other business than dealing with the issues they raised in the open letter.

The meeting quickly proceeded to focus on the UN Comtrade database. Of the 13 NGOs present, only five actually assessed the database.

And among the five, none had read the “read me first" section that laid out UN Comtrade’s disclaimer and copyright policy. The disclaimer explained the limit of the database, while the copyright policy indicated that the data could not “constitute acceptable proof.”

Mr. Tina confirmed that after receiving the open letter, the ministry took action immediately by re-inspecting all documents related to requests from companies to export the stipulated volumes of sand. However, Mr. Tina added that the ministry could not reconcile the sand volumes in its documents with that declared in the UN Comtrade database.

In efforts to explain the limit of the UN Comtrade database, Mr. Tina showed the NGOs present the discrepancies between the actual volume and quantity of trade, recorded by Singapore’s other trading partners in the sand business, and the figures that were presented in the database.

Despite these shortcomings, the ministry did not rule out other possibilities for the discrepancies.

According to an interview with a local media outlet, Meng Saktheara – another ministry spokesman and secretary of state – explained that the difference between the ministry’s recoded figures and that in the UN Comtrade database could be due to possible illegal movement of sand to Singapore. He also did not rule out corruption and technical errors while recording the data.

Mr. Tina told the NGOs present that the ministry welcomed reliable documents that could prove that companies or individuals had under declared sand exports overseas. He assured them that the ministry would take action against these culprits.

“We have received complaints from civil society but none are based on reliable and accurate information,” he said.

“They should not use UN Comtrade data without written consent from the UN Division of Statistics, as stated in UN Comtrade’s copyright policy and the database’s disclaimer,” stressed Mr. Tina.

To date, nine companies have licenses to carry out sand dredging and export the sand overseas. The companies are: Direct Access, International Rainbow, Viniyok Phum Knhom, Udom Seima Peanikch Industry and Mines, L.Y.P Group, DDML Construction, Thanin Tharith Import Export, Chhay Chingheang Import Export Group, and Vitanak Reachny.

At the end of the three-hour meeting, the NGOs requested the ministry to reconsider a blanket ban on sand dredging.

Mr. Tina replied that though the ministry had ordered a temporary ban on sand exports, the overall impact of such a ban on the economy had to be taken into account.

“The royalties collected by the ministry on the volume of sand mined is small. But there are also other taxes and duties that we collect and the income from the trade that contributes to the country’s GDP,” he said.

Mr. Tina concluded the meeting on a positive note and promised more fruitful cooperation with NGOs on the issue.

“We can record [sand export volumes] together and that would be easy. Then we can find a way to input the data together in order to avoid discrepancies in the database,” he told the NGOs. “If we decide to count together, we can set the plan and work together.”

San Chey, executive director for the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability said that this was not the last dialogue between the ministry and NGOs.

“Civil societies are happy for this kind of meeting and clarification from each other related to sand mining, especially sand dredging in Koh Kong province,” he said.

“We will cooperate with each other to collect more proof related to sand exports. This is a good sign,” said Mr. Chey, adding that NGOs will study closely the records of UN Comtrade and Singapore Customs, and their methods of recording and inputting data to the database.

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No live Christmas trees from Ikea this year

Melissa Lin, The Straits Times AsiaOne 21 Nov 16;

For the first time in more than 20 years, Ikea will not be selling live Christmas trees here this year.

"It has been increasingly challenging to guarantee the freshness of the trees through the current means and maintain low prices for our customers at the same time," a spokesman told The Straits Times.

The furniture store's Nordmann Fir trees are usually shipped in from Sweden in air-conditioned containers to preserve their freshness. The decision affects stores in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

As an alternative, Ikea has stocked up on more artificial trees this year.

It is also trying to find a solution to the challenges, the spokesman added.

The demand for live trees is on the rise in Singapore.

Last year, 38,800 live pine trees were imported here, up from 28,400 in 2014, said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA). The trees were from Denmark, Sweden and the United States. In 2008, some 7,700 trees were brought in.

The bulk of the trees usually arrive towards the end of November, AVA said.

The increase in the popularity of live trees here is matched by greater demand where they are grown, said Mr Mok Keng Houng, business manager at wholesale florist Ji Mei Flower. It has become more expensive to buy them, but Mr Mok said they cannot increase the price.

He added: "We have to see if the market can handle (any price increase)." His firm gets its Noble, Nordmann and Fraser fir trees from the US.

Floriculture company Far East Flora, which has been accepting pre-orders for its Noble and Nordmann firs since Nov 1, said response has been good so far.

Prices start from $78 for a 1.2m- to 1.5m-tall Noble fir tree for orders made by Nov 30, and go up to $88 after that.

"We have seen a younger crowd and more families making Christmas tree shopping an annual family affair in recent years," said its sales and marketing director Peter Cheok.

Sing See Soon Floral & Landscape in Punggol East is bringing in 250 trees, just like last year.

They range from 60cm-tall trees for table tops to 3.7m-tall trees for hotels and malls.

Customer service officer Karen Lim-Gallet, 43, who has been buying live trees to celebrate Christmas for the past 15 years, has ordered one from Far East Flora this year.

"The price of the tree has been increasing by about $10 every year. But I really like the smell of pine in the house, and it adds to the festive mood. It has become a tradition for my family," she said.

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Malaysia: Thousands of dead tilapia end up in Malacca River

KELLY KOH New Straits Times 21 Nov 16;

MALACCA: The sudden appearance of thousands of dead tilapia floating on the surface of the Malacca River near Taman Rumpun Bahagia in Bachang has left even the state Environment Department puzzled.

Malacca Environment Department director Shafe'ee Yasin however, confirmed that the river was not threatened by industrial pollutants.

"Initial investigations by DOE revealed that the river was not contaminated by industrial effluents as there were no factories nearby," he said.

"We have collected samples of the river water, but we have yet to finalise its results," he said when contacted by New Straits Times here today.

Shafe'ee said based on previous incidents of dead fish found in the Malacca River, the freshwater tilapia can be assumed to have been killed by a sudden influx of seawater to the opening of the barrage.

"Freshwater fish living in the Malacca River may likely die as they are unable to tolerate the high salinity in the water after mixing with sea water.

"Another possibility is the effects of sediments on the fishes, where they die from low oxygen," he added.

Shafe'ee said the department will not hesitate to take action against industrial operations found to be releasing industrial waste into the Malacca River.

"We will check and take action if industrial sites are found to be releasing effluents including during odd hours," he added.

Checks by the New Straits Times found that the river had since been cleared of fish carcasses.

Meanwhile, Bukit Katil MCA Youth chief Lee Chong Guan and Bukit Katil Gerakan secretary Nelson Goh Jin Juan, who visited the site, urged authorities to identify to cause of the high number of dead fish.

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Malaysia: ‘Brace for heavier downpours’

ADRIAN CHAN The Star 22 Nov 16;

PETALING JAYA: Downpours along the west coast will get worse, with about 1,000mm of rain to be recorded this month alone.

In comparison, the total amount of rainfall in the west coast between January and now was 1,200mm.

The Meteorological Department (known also as MetMalaysia) gave this warning to the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID), asking it to prepare for a deluge.

Areas that will be affected were Penang, Perak, Kedah, Perlis and northern Selangor, it said.

DID director-general Datuk Seri Zulkefli Hassan said the department was making more preparations for heavier, more frequent downpours and flash floods.

“It is expected that localised rain will continue to fall along the west coast, with higher intensity and within a short period of time (until November ends),” he said.

For the east coast, he said, staggered rainfall was expected and the department was looking to MetMalaysia for accurate predictions.

He said based on records of long-term average rainfall, more rain would likely fall there on the last week of this month and the second week of December.

Zulkefli added that MetMalaysia had yet to detect the cold surge associated with the northeast monsoon along the east coast of the peninsula.

The surge, which is characterised by cold winds that bring rain, has yet to be detected, meaning rainfall has yet to reach its peak along the coast, he said.

On Sunday, the department had issued a warning of heavy rain and overflowing rivers in Kelantan, Terengganu, Johor and Perlis.

For warnings and updates on water levels and flood situations, go to

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Malaysia: Stop issuing fresh logging licences, says Wan Junaidi

The Star 22 Nov 16;

PUTRAJAYA: State governments should stop issuing fresh logging licences and instead focus on eco-tourism.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar commended the Sarawak government for having done this.

“In my opinion, all logging should be stopped. Sarawak has stopped giving new licences or land for logging purposes. I think all states should do the same,’’ he told a press conference here.

The minister was commenting on the logging controversy in Gua Musang, Kelantan, where the indigenous orang asli are confronting the state government.

On the conflict between the orang asli and Kelantan government, Dr Wan Junaidi said he had asked the state government and state Forestry Department to report to him on the status of the disputed land.

“The loggers claim that they have been given the licence to carry out logging in the area but the orang asli are claiming that the land is theirs. I do not know who is right or wrong, so I’ve asked the state government to find out and report to me on who actually owns the land,” he said.

The logging dispute saw the orang asli set up two barricades between Pos Tohoi and Pos Gob to prevent logs from leaving two areas in the Balah permanent forest reserve. The state government then issued a deadline for the orang asli to dismantle the barricades.

Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob recently said a meeting would be held with the orang asli manning the blockades to resolve the issue.

The state Forestry Department issued a stop-work order in October to reduce tension between the loggers and the orang asli.

Dr Wan Junaidi said he had spoken about logging at a the recent National Physical Planning Council meeting, which was attended by all state governments.

“I have raised the matter but my ministry can only advise. Matters regarding land or the issuance of logging licences are still under the purview of the respective state governments,” he said.

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Significant Discrepancies Between Indonesia and Netherlands Wildlife Trade

Ratri M. Siniwi Jakarta Globe 21 Nov 16;

Jakarta. TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network, issued a report on Monday (21/11) on wildlife trade between the Netherlands and Indonesia indicating that there is a large discrepancy of animals being traded between the countries which remain unaccounted for.

According to the study, Indonesia reported that it exported 456,658 animals to the Netherlands between 2003 and 2013. The study also indicated that the Netherlands reportedly imported 343,992 species in that time.

This also differed from the data provided by the United Nations Environmental Program World Conservation Monitoring Center, where almost 550,000 species were reportedly exported to the Netherlands, according to its trade database.

Of the 550,000 species, 98 percent comprised of coral specimens and the remaining were birds, fish, mammals, molluscs and reptiles.

“Transactions not tallying between exporters and importers is a perennial problem seen in reporting of trade worldwide: in this instance the discrepancies indicate poor compliance with the [Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES] requirements for accurate information on the actual numbers of wildlife traded, and impedes proper understanding of wildlife trade dynamics,” Chris Shepherd, TRAFFIC’s Southeast Asia regional director, said in a statement on Monday (21/11).

The study also highlighted that reptiles and coral specimens continued to be traded despite trade suspensions and restrictions being issued on European Union member states, after being listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

The Common Seahorse, known as the Hippocampus kuda, was a focus of the study, as there has been an increase in trade of the species. However the trade of the species, which is prohibited, has lead to captive breeding,

“A quick shift to sourcing specimens from captive breeding starts alarm bells ringing and the authorities should ensure that wild taken specimens are not being laundered as captive bred,” Shepherd said.

The organization recommended that both the Netherlands and Indonesia improve documentation and transparency for wild animal trade, especially for coral specimens and increase protection and monitoring.

World Wildlife Fund Netherlands, who funded the study, suggests that the Netherlands should increase vigilance for commercial wildlife trade events, as well as monitor imports closely.

“Regular market monitoring could provide early warnings of emerging trends, potential illegal trade and prevent the use of the Netherlands as an entry point into the EU of trafficked wildlife,” Christiaan van der Hoeven of WWF Netherlands said.

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Laos: 'Vicious capitalism' speeds up completion of first mainstream dam in Lower Mekong

Pichayada Promchertchoo Channel NewsAsia 21 Nov 16;

Like many hydropower projects, the Xayaburi Dam in northern Laos comes with pros and cons. While the Lao government and investors focus on economic benefits, environmentalists and residents voice concerns over risks it may bring to the Mekong. In her 1,800-kilometre journey across Thailand and Laos, Channel NewsAsia’s Pichayada Promchertchoo investigates who actually benefits from the controversial project.

CHIANG KHONG, Thailand: The roar of an engine broke the early morning serenity, as our boat glided on the misty Mekong. The air was fresh and wet from a cooling rain shower. Save for the boat's staccato growl, the only sound came from the mighty river as it raced downstream.

The wooden boat charged forward, sending ripples across the water that helps sustain tens of millions of lives in Southeast Asia. Thais call it "Mae Nam Khong" and so do their neighbours in Laos, just across the river. As it snakes through Cambodia, it becomes known as "Tonle Mekong" before changing into "Song Me Kong" in Vietnam.

But they all mean one thing: Khong, the Mother of Water. The name is appropriate.

The Mekong forms a natural border between Thailand and Laos. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)

The Mekong is the longest river in Southeast Asia, and connects to many other rivers and streams. It flows about 4,900 kilometres from the Tibetan Plateau through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before draining into the South China Sea.

The river is rich in natural resources and boasts a great biodiversity of plants and fish that is second only to the Amazon. It is home to species such as the Mekong giant catfish and Irrawaddy dolphin, both of which are critically endangered.

"Mae Nam Khong is the main artery of Southeast Asia," a soft voice said from the seat behind. Its owner was a lean figure, his grey ponytail fluttering softly in the wind. The man was looking at the mighty river, taking in its majesty.

"Its colour changes with seasons. Now it's red because it’s the rainy season and soil gets washed into the water," the 56-year-old added as we travelled to visit the fishermen of Ban Hat Bai, two hours upstream. It had been a long time since Tee's last boat ride on the Mekong in the rainy season. And he was loving it.


Tee, whose full name is Niwat Roykaew, is a conservationist from the border town of Chiang Khong in northern Thailand.

He has spent all his life by the river and knows its natural rhythm by heart; so do the other children of the Mekong - fishermen, farmers, boat drivers and their families - whose lives change with the seasons, just like the river itself.

Tee is the leader of the Rak Chiang Khong conservation group, which has been working to preserve the Mekong over the past 20 years. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)

But the rhythm has changed.

The Mekong has become unpredictable. Since China built large dams across its upper mainstream in Yunnan, its seasonal cycles have become unnatural and fish catches have shrunk, according to local environmentalists and fishing communities. The changes are obvious in riverside villages downstream.

"In the old days, there were plenty of fish. It was so easy to catch them," said Por Oon Thammavong, a veteran fisherman at Ban Hat Bai. He started working on the water at the age of 14 and used to catch more than 10 fish every day. Now, the 67-year-old sometimes fails to catch anything for days, and big fish are a rarity.

Still, the Mekong remains home to the world's largest inland fishery. It accounts for about 25 per cent of the global freshwater catch and nearly 12 per cent of Cambodia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The sector also feeds tens of thousands of businesses in Thailand and Vietnam, channelling more than US$750 million to the countries' GDP every year.

But many fear this could change very soon.

Downstream, a dam is being built. Around 8,500 people are working around the clock to complete the immense concrete barrage, which rises 32.6 metres above the riverbed and stretches 820 metres across its mainstream. Once complete, it will be the biggest hydropower facility in the region.


In Xayaburi, a remote province north of Laos, the hydropower project has raised a storm of controversy since its construction began in 2011. Thousands of people in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam have opposed the development and voiced concerns over its transboundary impact on lives in the Lower Mekong Basin.

Many fear the dam will trap natural fertiliser sediment, disrupt fish migration and jeopardise inland fisheries - the main occupation in the region that provides 60 million people with their primary source of protein.

Their concerns were echoed in a key impact study - the Strategic Environmental Assessment of Hydropower on the Mekong Mainstream - which recommended a 10-year moratorium on mainstream dams due to "far-reaching potential effects and remaining uncertainties".

But despite strong opposition across the region, the project - which is owned almost entirely by Thai enterprises - is now 67 per cent complete and well on track to be finished in 2019.

"Why is Thailand doing what it's doing?" said Kraisak Choonhavan, a former Thai senator and ardent environmental advocate, pointing out that many Thais have become more aware of their rights and opposition to mega-projects like this has grown.

The Xayaburi dam is scheduled for completion in 2019. Around 8,500 people are working around the clock to finish the facility. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)

Part of the reason may be that Thailand's investment sector is ever expanding. Companies and individuals with money to invest are seeking major new projects that could yield high profits. Increasingly, big companies, state enterprises and commercial banks are working together as a consortium to advance business interests.

The hydropower sector, which is fast growing with the country's demand for electricity, has been one destination for this investor appetite. Since the 1960s, Thailand has built more than 40 dams for power generation and irrigation. But at the same time, the impact on the environment and local livelihoods has resulted in growing opposition from residents and environmental groups.

That has pushed investors to look at overseas projects to bypass domestic concerns. One of those projects is the Xayaburi hydropower dam.

"They have to invest overseas, in countries where people have limited rights and whose authoritarian government can facilitate mega-projects without considering the impact on its environment or people," Kraisak said.

"This condition is most obvious in Laos."

More than 2,900 people from 15 villages in Laos were forced to resettle because of the Xayaburi hydropower project. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)


For the Lao government and Thai investors, the project has many benefits. Besides generating clean energy, the Xayaburi dam is also bringing foreign capital into Laos and will help Thailand meet its growing demand for power.

Over the next 20 years, the demand is expected to grow by 2.67 per cent annually. Peak demand will jump from 30,218 megawatts this year to 49,655 megawatts in 2036. At the same time, the reserve margin - the capacity to generate more energy than normal peak demand levels - is also set to climb, from 35.2 per cent this year to 39.4 per cent in 2024.

Fishermen in Chiang Khong said it is very hard to catch fish in the Mekong nowadays. Many of them have to find a part-time job to support families. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)

However, critics believe these forecasts are helping to pave the way for mega-projects that would benefit big enterprises such as EGAT, the state power monopoly that supplies most electricity in Thailand.

"The need for energy in Thailand is forecast by EGAT - the very agency that benefits from energy development," said Dr R Edward Grumbine, an expert on the impact of dam development in the Mekong and senior scientist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Yunnan.

"EGAT has a long history of overestimating the country's power needs and favouring projects that are large-scale, like dams."

Once completed, the Xayaburi power plant will be able to generate 1,285 megawatts, 95 per cent of which will be sold to EGAT, with the rest to be kept within Laos.

Despite several attempts, EGAT did not respond to Channel NewsAsia's requests to comment on the issue.

Nonetheless, Thai interests in Xayaburi are clear, despite the project being located in Laos and managed by a Lao firm Xayaburi Power Co Ltd (XPCL).

XPCL is mostly owned by Thai enterprises, including EGAT's subsidiary EGCO, which holds 12.5 per cent of the total shares. Its biggest shareholder is CH Karnchang - the project's primary developer and one of Thailand’s largest construction firms. Through its subsidiary CKP, it holds 30 per cent of the total shares. Other shareowners include Thailand's largest energy firm PTT - through its subsidiary Natee Synergy - and Bangkok Expressway.

All in, Thai interests own about 75 per cent of Xayaburi, with Laos' electricity generating authority EDL holding 20 per cent and Laotian private company PT Construction and Irrigation owning 5 per cent.

The Xayaburi hydropower dam is the first project that blocks the Lower Mekong main channel. Environmental groups are concerned it will threaten the regional food security. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)

Kraisak described the consortium as a product of "vicious capitalism".

"It’s a system that disregards conscience and ethics and only focuses on personal interests," he said.


The Xayaburi dam is scheduled to be completed in 2019, after a construction phase lasting eight years and costing US$3.8 billion. But as soon as the turbines start to turn, the money will start to flow.

If the dam operates at its full potential, CH Karchang alone could receive more than US$430 million annually throughout its concession period of 29 years. Such sums are generating interest in other potential Mekong dams, with more than 10 being considered.

"The impact of the Xayaburi dam will surely be felt in Chiang Khong. We’ve already felt the impact of dams in China," Por Oon said. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)

And while such projects could generate power and profits, riverside communities may not benefit to the same degree. At the Xayaburi dam, residents remain uncertain about whether those benefits will trickle down to them. All they can see is a loss of farmland along the banks, fewer fish to catch and unseasonal floods and droughts.

Many fishermen in Chiang Khong have already left the river to work at construction sites in Bangkok. Those who are not fit enough have to find another job as a sideline. Por Oon is among them.

"Nowadays, I drive a passenger boat and buy fish from the market. Sometimes I get them from my own pond. It’s very hard to catch any fish in the Mekong."

Explore the whole series: Power Struggle - Damming the Mekong. Follow Pichayada Promchertchoo on Twitter @PichayadaCNA

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UK Conservationists herald bag tax impact on beach rubbish

BBC 22 Nov 16;

The number of plastic carrier bags found on UK beaches has dropped by almost half, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has said.

The charity's Great British Beach Clean report found just under seven bags per 100 metres of coastline cleaned.

That is a 40% drop from the average 11 bags found in 2015 and is the lowest number in 10 years.

The MCS said the drop "vindicates" the introduction of a 5p charge on single-use plastic bags.

The MCS was among those groups which campaigned for the plastic bag levy to be introduced in Wales in 2011, Northern Ireland in 2013, Scotland in 2014 and England in October last year.

"We've seen a significant drop in the number and that can only be as a result of the 5p charge which is now in place in all the home nations," said MCS beach watch manager Lauren Eyles.

"It vindicates the charge, which we predicted would be good news for the marine environment.

"Thanks to our thousands of fantastic volunteers who collect beach litter data, we can now see the impact these charges have had."

The Great British Clean is an annual beach clean and survey that takes place all along the UK coastline.

This year, some 6,000 volunteers cleaned 364 beaches and recorded the litter they found.

In Wales, where the bag charge has been in place for five years, the number was lower than any other year since 2011 - just under four bags for every 100m cleaned.

But it was beaches in England and Northern Ireland which saw the biggest drop in the number of plastic bags found during the September clean up - with half as many recovered compared with 2015.
Environment minister Therese Coffey said the introduction of the charge in England had been a "huge success" and had raised £29m for charitable organisations and good causes.

One of those was the MCS, which received £28,400 in the last year, with the money being used to recruit thousands of beach clean volunteers Ms Coffey added: "It shows small actions can make the biggest difference, but we must not be complacent as there is always more we can all do to reduce waste and recycle what we use."

Beach rubbish - items found in beach clean:
Plastic caps and lids (204 found per 100m) - floating plastic like this can be mistaken by seabirds for food
Cotton buds (23 per 100m) - plastic sticks end up in the sea through sewage, when they should go in the bin or be recycled
Wet wipes (14 per 100m) end up on beaches after they are flushed down the toilet

But the data collected by volunteers showed a rise of more than 4% in the quantity of drinks containers found on the UK's beaches - including plastic bottles, bottle tops and aluminium cans.
There was also a 53% rise over the past year in the amount of balloon-related litter found on beaches.

Plastic bags are particularly dangerous to turtles, who mistake them for their jellyfish prey. The bags can block their digestive systems, leading to death from starvation.

Some species of seabirds are particularly attracted by the scent of plastic junk and according to the MCS, over 90% of fulmars found dead around the North Sea have plastic in their stomachs.

The charity said there had been a drop of almost 4% in the amount of litter found on UK beaches between 2015 and 2016, with 6,000 volunteers collecting 268,384 items in this year's clean.

Beaches in Scotland saw a decrease of 18% in overall litter levels, rubbish in the North East of England dropped by 14% and in the Channel Islands by 10%.

But there were increases in the amount of beach litter in the North West (24%), Wales and the South West (15%) and in Northern Ireland (9%).

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