MCSUK Invites Members of the Public to Cramond Beach Cleanup
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is organising a beach clean and litter survey to help de-clutter Cramond beach, north-west of Edinburgh, this coming weekend. The clean-up will be led by MCS’ Scotland Conservation Officer, Catherine Gemmell, on Saturday 6 April at 10am.
MCS staff and members of the public clean up Cramond four times a year as part of the Society's ongoing Beachwatch project. It is the charity's 'adopted' beach in Scotland as the organisation's Scottish office is based in the city’s Canning Street.
Catherine Gemmell says the tide of litter washing up on our shores is not just unpleasant to look at, it can harm and even kill some of our best-loved marine wildlife: 'Over 170 species including seabirds, turtles and whales have mistaken marine litter for food and actually eaten it, which in many cases has resulted in starvation, poisoning and ultimately a slow, painful death. Plastic packaging and discarded fishing nets injure, entangle and drown some of Scotland’s favourite marine animals, including seals and dolphins.'
In January, MCS volunteer beach cleaners picked up 367 items of litter from a 100m stretch of Cramond beach, but previous April cleans have seen over 4,500 items being picked up by volunteers in just 100 metres. Last April’s clean and litter survey saw over 800 wet wipes picked up along with over 1,400 pieces of plastic - and a set of false teeth!
'It’s a great family day out and the number of people that turn up to clean Cramond has been steadily rising over the last few years as awareness of plastic pollution in our seas is now high on the public’s agenda,' says Catherine Gemmell.
The Scottish Government has committed to a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in which single-use drinks bottles and cans are priced with an additional deposit, which is refunded by returning the bottles and cans to reverse vending machines. MCS is pushing for a scheme run by a not-for-profit operator covering bottles and cans all materials and sizes.
'On Scottish beaches, bottles and cans are always among the top finds,' says Catherine. 'Since 2014, over 10,000 plastic and glass drinks bottles and metal drinks cans have been found during our annual Great British Beach Clean event held every September. We are confident a DRS will see a huge reduction in the number we pick up, just as the number of carrier bags we collected dropped after the introduction of the 5p carrier bag charge was introduced.'