Published Tuesday, 14 May 2013
Newcastle beach in Co Down. (© Pacemaker)
The amount of rubbish found on the region's shores has gone up by more than 60% compared to 2011, according to the Marine Conservation Society.
More than 8,224 pieces of litter were found per kilometre of sand.
"As we continue to embrace the concept of a throwaway society it's no surprise that plastic dominates the litter we find," Dr Robert Keirle, MCS pollution programme manager.
"In Northern Ireland we have also seen a rise in the amount of cigarette stubs on beaches, possibly pointing to the fact that the smoking ban has forced smokers outside to dispose of stubs on the floor rather than in an ashtray."
During last year's MCS Beachwatch Big Weekend 2012 in September, 157 volunteers cleaned nine beaches, covering a total of 1.38 kilometres.
Over 11,000 pieces of rubbish were picked up, filling some 103 bags.
"Despite last summer being seen as a wash-out by many with heavy rain in many places, it appears those people that did visit our beaches left behind a lot of personal litter - sweet wrappers, ice cream wrappers and plastic drinks bottles failed to find their way into rubbish bins and ended up being dropped and left behind," continued Dr Keirle.
"This year's figures point to people becoming less bothered about littering."
© UTV News