My Beach, Your Beach
An intervention to improve bathing water quality
Over summer 2018, we ran a series of behaviour change interventions to improve bathing water quality at three well known beaches: South Beach in Ayr, Fisherrow Sands in Musselburgh and Portobello Beach in Edinburgh.
There are 86 designated bathing waters across Scotland which the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) monitor. By taking regular water samples at these beaches, SEPA can predict the quality of the water. All of the beaches we are focusing on have had challenges with bathing water quality for a number of years, and the campaign is designed to reverse this trend.
SEPA's research has confirmed the link between our behaviour on the land and the cleanliness of the seawater. The bacteria in dog and gull fouling has a negative impact on water quality, so the campaign will trial a number of interventions to tackle these. Through encouraging dog owners to bag and bin dog waste and by removing additional food sources for gulls by promoting responsible disposal of litter, we are aiming to reduce the pollution arising from dog and gull poo at Scottish beaches.
Bespoke behaviour change interventions were installed across the three sites, including:
- Colourful bin wraps with key campaign messaging to nudge people to dispose of their litter properly,
- Signage around the beach raising awareness of the campaign,
- A series of community engagement events, explaining how gulls, litter and dog fouling can seriously impact on water quality.
- Business packs for local business, including stickers, posters and information to promote and engage with the campaign,
This project complements the work currently undertaken by SEPA and Scottish Water, who are also carrying out a range of improvements to these beaches.