A work of art featuring a rocket made entirely of Southend litter picked from the town and beach has been created on the seafront.

The project was co-ordinated by Project 49, a group which help adults with learning disabilities learn new skills and get involved with community activities, in an attempt to start and conversation and remind people to pick up their litter when visiting the seafront and consider the impact of plastic on the oceans.

Funded by Veolia, Southend Council's recycling and waste coordinator, the installation entitled "It's not rocket science" was put together by a team of volunteers at The Gasworks carpark on Eastern Esplanade, many of whom which were community groups Make Southend Sparkle, Southend Beach Care, and Brazilarte.

Coordinator of community inclusion at Project 49, Pete Shrimplin, said: "The artwork came together brilliantly, everyone at Project 49 really enjoyed getting involved and there was a great community feel with a lot of people just dropping in to help.

"People were passing us as we were working and stopping to talk about it - hopefully we can help spread the message that stopping littering really isn't rocket science. We all want our town to look the best it possibly can, we love Southend and hope that people will be inspired to do what they can to help it."

The project was created under the watchful eye of renowned street artist and music producer Nik Vaughan, known as Mister Frisbee.

Litter on Southend's beaches has been a much discussed topic in recent months, as weeks of heatwave weather brought crowds down to the seafront - some of whom left piles of plastic and other litter strewn across the sand.

Councillor Mark Flewitt, cabinet member for public protection, said: “This is a really exciting project with a profound and much-needed message. Local people are extremely proud of our seven miles of beautiful beaches and are understandably angered when they see them strewn with litter after a busy day.

“All the litter used in the artwork has been picked up by local community groups, demonstrating that it really isn’t rocket science to pick up your litter and easier still not to drop it in the first place.

“Much of the litter left on our beaches are single-use plastic bottles, bags and straws which can clog the seas for centuries with devastating effects on marine wildlife."

Keith McGurk, regional director for Veolia, said: “Litter and fly tips are unsightly and damage the environment that we all want to enjoy.

"We are very proud to support the creation of an art installation on Eastern Esplanade in Southend. It is a great opportunity to raise awareness and get everyone talking - and more importantly, picking up their rubbish.”