My Beach, Your Beach

We can all agree that there’s nothing quite like a relaxing walk near the sea. But our beaches are not just important to our health and wellbeing. They provide critical habitats for many different creatures and animals, as well as supporting coastal tourism and our fishing industries.

So let’s look after our beautiful beaches this summer (and beyond)!

My Beach, Your Beach is a campaign aiming to help keep our beaches and bathing waters clean for all to enjoy. Our summer beach campaign focuses on Portobello, Fisherrow Sands, Kinghorn Harbour and Ayr. Colourful signage, community events and canine competitions are all part of our campaign to get everyone involved in protecting our beaches. Here are some of the key issues we’re working on:


Dog poo

Dog poo is one of the most annoying things to find on the beach, in fact, for seven in ten people living in Scotland, it is the litter item which bothers them the most. But it’s not only unsightly, dog poo carries harmful bacteria which can make people sick, and if left on the beach can have harmful effects on the bathing water quality. So, if you’re taking your dog onto the beach this summer, bag and bin dog poo.

Litter and gulls

Seagulls - a firm part of the beach experience for many. However, in urban areas, litter can pose a big problem for gull populations. Litter can choke or entangle wildlife, or be mistaken for food. Feeding gulls can also lead to aggressive behaviour in gulls and cause conflict with human visitors. Where there is food related litter, gulls gather. This effect can lead to elevated levels of bacteria in the immediate waters where folks swim. So, think twice before sharing your picnic with a gull, and help keep our sands clean and litter free by taking your litter home. Read more about marine litter and how we can stop it.

Don't forget the drains

Keeping our beaches clean starts at home. To ensure the pipes run smoothly, we all need to be mindful about what we put down the drain. The big issues arise in our toilets and in our kitchens.

The unflushables

Wet wipes, cotton buds, nappies, sanitary items (and you’d be surprised what else!) should never be flushed down the toilet. Toilets are designed for the 3 Ps only - that’s pee, poo and paper. Flushing other items can cause blockages or overflows. Help protect the beach and only flush the 3Ps.

Kitchen residues

Fats, oils and greases (or FOGs) congeal in drainpipes and can form solid blockages called ‘fatbergs’. These are costly to remove and can cause big problems in the waste water system. Keep the cycle flowing, always put excess fats, oils or grease in a bin. Top tip: pour liquid FOGs into a container and allow to cool, before disposing in a bin.

Get involved

Are you a local resident or business and want to get involved with the #MyBeachYourBeach campaign?

 Here’s how you can get involved:

Why is bathing water quality important?

Bathing water quality is an important measure of a beaches general condition of water quality. Many popular beaches in Scotland display live-signage with real-time predictions of water quality – allowing visitors to check before they swim. You can also check the bathing water quality forecast online.

Over the years, Scotland’s bathing water has been improving. But some sites still need extra efforts. The Scottish Government aims for all designated sites to meet Sufficient classifications by 2020 – and to get there, we can all be part of the solution.

We launched My Beach, Your Beach in 2018 to address dog fouling, litter and gull issues at some popular bathing spots after new evidence that in addition to other factors, dog and gull faeces were contributing to lower quality water for swimming.


Our partners

This project is supported by the Scottish Government, and carried out in partnership with SEPA, South Ayrshire Council, City of Edinburgh Council, East Lothian Council and Fife Coast & Countryside Trust.

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