MCS litter pick collects almost 60kg of marine litter

A recent litter pick at an Edinburgh beach collected almost 60kg of marine litter.

With Spring Clean Scotland 2023 nearing its completion, volunteers taking part in a recent beach clean organised by the Marine Conservation Society helped gather litter data and cleaned a beach along the Edinburgh coastline at the same time.

A group of 30 people attended the beach clean and found thousands of marine litter items, more than a quarter of which were items made from plastic. There were also more than 2,000 wet wipes collected.

Kirsty Crawford, Volunteer and Community Engagement Manager at the Marine Conservation Society, was joined by 29 volunteers at Cramond Beach and the group collected a huge 57kg of marine litter.

She said: “By cleaning up the beach, and recording the amount of litter we find we are able to tackle larger issues and build the evidence base needed to show the scale of the problem.

“In this way, policy change is more likely. In just one hour across a 100m stretch we filled eight bags with 3,235 marine litter items. Twenty-six per cent were items made from plastic and 71% of sewage-related debris (2,233 wet wipes!).

“It is our hope that we can tackle litter issues in Scotland, such as a ban on plastic-based wet wipes and a turn towards a more circular economy, where we think about keeping products in circulation for longer, and using more sustainable materials.”

Kirsty explained that none of MCS’s work is possible without the support of their brilliant volunteers. Sea Champion volunteer Caitlin Turner has been supporting beach cleans and marine campaign work for more than four years.

Joining the team at Cramond, she said: “I volunteer at beach cleans because I love the ocean, so I do all I can to protect it. Beach cleaning is sadly necessary because it's the final stage before waste enters the sea from land.

“Although waste production really needs to be stopped at the source, beach cleaning helps to remove what waste is there, to avoid it reaching the ocean, and potentially cause harm to marine life. 

“My hope for the future is that we can move to a circular economy. This should in time, see a reduction in the waste we find on our beaches and other wild spaces.

“I'd like to actually enjoy being at the beach again - my happy place - without feeling disheartened by the rubbish I see around me. I hope that, if effective action is taken to tackle waste at source, beaches won't need to be cleaned anymore.”

Heather McLaughlin, our Campaigns Coordinator, said: “The support for this year’s Spring Clean has smashed all our expectations and it’s thanks to supporting organisations, like the Marine Conservation Society, and the countless hours of effort from people like Kirsty, Caitlin and anyone else who has gone above and beyond.

“We set a target of 20,000 people signed up for Spring Clean Scotland 2023 and we’re already close to 25,000 with plenty of time to spare.

“Scotland is currently facing a Litter Emergency and we know the time to act is now. I’d like to thank every single person who has signed up and played their part and encourage everyone else to do so and help us clean up Scotland.”

Spring Clean 2023 ends on 17 April. We currently have more than 23,000 people signed up across over 600 events. To get involved or for more information on events happening near you visit Spring Clean 2023 | Keep Scotland Beautiful.

06 April 2023

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