Marine conservationists have launched a campaign to highlight the damage caused by discarded wet wipes.

Latest figures reveal a 400 per cent increase in wet wipes washing up on UK beaches during the past decade.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) campaign, to persuade retailers and manufacturers to clearly label their wet wipe products with a 'Don't Flush' message, comes after experts warned even those wipes labelled flushable are failing to meet the water industry standard.

MCS head of pollution Dr Laura Foster said: "Our sewerage systems weren’t built to cope with wet wipes.

"When flushed they don’t disintegrate like toilet paper, and they typically contain plastic so once they reach the sea, they last for a very long time."

Discarded wipes also pose a serious threat to marine life.

The MCS ‘Wet Wipes Turn Nasty When You Flush Them’ campaign highlights the issue and urges the public to get behind the charity’s call for better wet wipe labelling.

In 2015, during the MCS Great British Beach Clean, volunteers found nearly 4,000 wet wipes around the UK coastline – that’s roughly 50 for every kilometre cleaned – a 30per cent rise on the previous year and a 400 per cent rise in a decade.