Littlehampton beach is the focus for a pilot project that could help solve a marine environmental crisis.
Waste, especially plastic, is disfiguring beaches and taking its toll on marine life.
GreenSeas Trust will be analysing litter collected from the shoreline on East Beach and using the information to create special litter bins.
Students from the design faculty of the University of East London, accompanied by trust representatives, visited Littlehampton on Tuesday to work with Arun District Council and contractor Biffa on a litter pick.
This will help pave the way for the new rubbish bin design, to encourage people to bin their plastics and other rubbish.
The pilot project will result in a new kind of litter bin that will hopefully be placed on Britain’s at-risk beaches.
Fazilette Khan, a GreenSeas trustee, said: “The study, which will include waste composition analysis and use of high tech GPS equipment, will create a picture of what waste materials are found at different areas of the beach.
“Ultimately, this data will inform the design and prototyping of a new waste bin for use on Britain’s beaches. The Littlehampton study will also help pinpoint best locations for the bins.
“The bin’s iconic design will be a work of art, not just a functional object, and will feature eye-catching information about the damage caused by plastics entering the sea. The design objective is to help change people’s attitudes towards litter, particularly plastics.”
A final design should be selected by January and the charity hopes to attract sponsorship to manufacture bins that can then be placed on Britain’s beaches.
GreenSeas Trust was established in memory of Fazilette’s mother, Haida Khan, who was born in Trinidad and loved the sea. The aim is to educate, promote and implement environmental programmes to eliminate plastics entering the seas and coastal areas, to ensure marine life and fish stocks are sustainable for future generations.
It is estimated eight million tonnes of plastic debris is dumped at sea and at East Beach, it was no surprise to find plastic objects made up the majority of the litter found.
Fazilette added: “If people want to use single-use plastic that is a choice they make but they must be responsible for the waste they create and how they dispose of it. By recycling, we can save resources, energy and the marine eco-system.”
Staff from the council and Biffa were keen to show the students the operation of waste removal and, with windy and wet conditions on the day, they explained the importance of taking the elements into consideration when designing the bin.
Fazilette said many people were asking the students about the project and how they could show their support.
“These smart students from UEL recognise the threat of plastic pollution to the future of our seas and bring a fresh perspective to this campaign,” she said.
“We’re looking forward to working with other local authorities and sponsors to provide these useful installations at coastal points across the country to help millions of seaside visitors play their part in removing plastic from our oceans.”