THE Coastguard has appealed for people to cut down on their plastic use - with a 47-year-old reminder highlighting the plea.

While carrying out beach inspections on Brean Beach last week, the warden noticed something unusual among the rubbish which had washed up during the high tide - a vintage Fairy Liquid bottle.

A burnham Coastguard spokesman said: "The beach warden said he had picked up lots of different items to dispose of on his travels including shoes and plastics, even finding this Fairy Liquid bottle, that is 47 years old."

And he said the plastic bottle served as a timely reminder of how long waste products stay in the eco system.

"This bottle has been floating around in our waters and still looks almost new," he said.

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"If you watched the BBC One program Drowning In Plastic you will see what effects plastics are having on our entire world.

"Natural debris is just that, natural, biodegradable items like wood and seaweed etc, there has been an exceptional amount of that too, leaving a visible high-tide mark along our miles of golden sand.

"Most of it will return back to the water on following tides where it will provide habitat and food sources for marine life, the rest will be removed at some point by contractors.

"What can we do about this modern day scourge? We can try and reduce our day to day plastic use which is difficult with current manufacturing. But we can do little things like disposing of rubbish in bins (especially while at the beach).

"Be mindful of what we flush down our toilets, cotton buds are the worst offenders.

"And you can also help keep our beaches clean by joining your local beach cleaning groups such as the amazing Litter Free Coast and Sea Somerset and Rage Against Rubbish who, along with their groups of volunteers, are doing great work removing hundreds of bags of rubbish and thousands of cotton buds every month."

However, he warned people on the beach not to collect any dangerous items or potential wartime relics - instead calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard in such circumstances.