LOCALS must work together to tackle beach litter and improve the condition of Somerset’s coastal waters.

This is the message from the new Somerset Coastal Community officer for Burnham-on-Sea, Berrow and Brean – Tanya Cox.

She joined the Litter Free Somerset Coasts project last year and replaced Harriet Yates-Smith in her new role.

She has a background in marine conservation and has been working to tackle plastic pollution over the last six years.

Speaking about her new role, Tanya said she is excited to work with the community to tackle plastic waste and improve Burnham’s water quality.

“It’s a really exciting time of year as we enter the planning stage for the various campaigns that we hope to run this year,” Tanya said.

“One of my main focuses this year is to improve the water quality in Burnham-on-Sea and a project started in 2012 to help with this. But this year I really want to speak to the community about what they can do to help, not only water quality but litter on the beaches.”

Tanya has been working with The Friends of Burnham-on-Sea Beach Clean to clean up the coastline and says this year she is determined to crack down on dog waste, beach litter and improve water quality in the town.

“This year we will be launching a number of campaigns to help clean up our beaches,” Tanya said. The Friends of Burnham beach will be continuing their excellent work to keep the coastline litter free.

“It’s an excellent way to highlight the scale of the problem to residents and encourage small but significant changes to reduce the amount of waste we produce.

“We will be relaunching the successful ‘don’t feed the locals’ campaign which targets seagulls because bird and animal faeces can strongly affect bathing water quality.

“We will also be promoting responsible dog ownership for the same reasons. Nobody wants to find dog mess on the beach or in the water, yet it is frequently spotted on Burnham beach.”

Tanya said, although progress has been made to improve Burnham’s water quality, there is a long way to go.

“Over the last few years a number of campaigns have been launched with the aim of improving Burnham’s water quality, some have been successful, some have not, there is still a long way to go,” Tanya said.

“I am determined that this year by educating the community and launching these new campaigns we will make a significant difference to Burnham’s bathing water quality.

“The community needs to work together to help tackle beach litter and improve water quality as one person can’t make a difference.”

“I am looking forward to working with the community so we can have a litter free beach and cleaner water.”