HAVE you been down to the sea lately? It’s not just for the summer, it’s an amazing environment and resource year-round.

This year’s annual Great British Beach Clean, running 17th-26th September, is a week-long citizen science event, where hundreds of beach cleans take place up and down the UK.

Volunteers are allocated a 100m stretch, because, as I learned, there’s surprising value in not just removing litter, but recording it as well.

Shockingly, last year each 100m stretch averaged 425 items of litter.

Data from previous campaigns has inspired real positive change, including banning microbeads in personal care products, better wet wipe labelling, supporting a tax on single-use plastic items, and the plastic bag charge, which has led to a 55% drop in plastic bags found on UK beaches.

But of course, there’s always more to do to stop the scourge of litter clogging our beaches, polluting our waterways, and endangering our wildlife.

Depressingly, 30% of beach cleans last year found face masks and PPE, I doubt that will have dropped this time round.

Back at base, installing the zoo’s four huge marine tanks earlier this year has enabled us to engage, educate and hopefully inspire visitors with easy ways to help the wild cousins of our resident fish, starfish, jellyfish, crustaceans and corals.

Now, as they say, for the science bit.

We recently welcomed vet students Amy and Emily to us as part of a two week placement.

The came in to help with our research and part of their work was testing our tank water.

Giving them practical experience, work like this provides methods and benchmarks against which natural bodies of water can be tested, to detect and address dangerous toxin levels.

It also helps us ensure we are providing the stable, optimum, nutrient and oxygen-rich environments required for our inhabitants to live and, importantly for endangered species, the best chance of reproducing.

Ours is the blue planet, on which all life started from, and depends on water.

Community events like the Great British Beach Clean remind us we’re all neighbours, so if you spot a keepers in wellies and gloves in our 100m down at the Bay, give us a wave.