My Beach Your Beach is back with a splash!
Following World Oceans Day on 8 June, we have launched our My Beach Your Beach campaign, encouraging everyone to take better care of Scotland’s beaches and help improve bathing water quality and safety.
This year, the campaign will focus on seven of the country’s well-loved beaches through targeted interventions to change behaviour. The selected beaches - Ayr, Troon, Saltcoats/Ardrossan, Irvine, Fisherrow Sands, Portobello and Kinghorn - have all faced challenges in improving the quality of their bathing water as measured by SEPA.
Since 2018, My Beach Your Beach has worked to raise awareness of bathing water quality and the role we can all play, whether on the beach or at home, to protect the sand and sea. Simple habits can help improve our bathing waters, including taking litter away and leaving the beach cleaner than you found it, bagging and binning dog poo to keep everyone safe, and not feeding the gulls.
Key outcomes from My Beach Your Beach 2021
- 82% of beach goers would be willing to pick up litter when visiting the beach, to leave it cleaner than they found it.
- 43% of respondents would change habits in relation to what they flush down the toilet and pour down the drain to support bathing water improvements.
- 46% of beach users check the bathing water quality.
- 76% of those surveyed would like to see ongoing work.
Running alongside a range of efforts by the Scottish Government, SEPA and Scottish Water to improve bathing waters across Scotland, activities this year will focus on helping everyone understand the importance of good bathing water quality.
Heather Mclaughlin, our Campaigns Coordinator, said, “With the opening of the bathing water season and following World Oceans Day this week, beaches and the marine environment are more important than ever. Through this campaign we want to encourage everyone who goes to the beach, whether they live in an area or are visiting, to value and care for it. Working together, partners, communities and individuals have really raised awareness of bathing water quality. Waste from animals or litter is not just unsightly, it can have a negative impact on the environment. The message is simple, respect and enjoy our sand and sea this summer – it’s your beach.”
Environment Minister Màiri McAllan said, “Everyone can enjoy Scotland’s beautiful beaches and bathing waters this summer, with 99% of designated sites passing quality standards. To make sure everyone has a good experience by the sea, and to help keep our beaches and coastal waters clean, please put your rubbish in the bin, recycling it where possible.”
Ruth Stidson, Principal Scientist (Bathing Waters) at SEPA, said, “With Covid restrictions now eased, visitors will be flocking to our stunning coastlines and beaches. SEPA’s bathing water designations ensure beach users can make an informed decision on if they want to take part in water-based activities at 87 locations.
“Protecting and improving our bathing waters is crucial for our environment, our local economies which rely on beach tourism and our visitors, whether local, domestic or international. SEPA works every day to protect and enhance Scotland’s stunning environment and we are committed to ensuring all of Scotland’s designated bathing waters meet water quality standards.
“We’ve seen a number of improvements over the last few years, as key projects have delivered positive changes. Partnership working between SEPA, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Scottish Government, the farming sector, Scottish Water, local authorities and communities has been vital to achieving better results. Further work is continuing this year to drive forward improvements this season and beyond.”
Find out more about the beaches selected and how you can get involved and contribute to the campaign here.
See bathing water profiles of the beaches: https://www2.sepa.org.uk/bathingwaters/profiles.aspx
10 June 2022