Coastal communities embrace My Beach Your Beach
Our My Beach - Your Beach campaign came to a close on 15 September, along with this summer's short bathing season. Launched in mid-July, just as we were easing out of lockdown, the campaign aimed to help improve water quality at six of Scotland’s well-loved beaches by encouraging people to take better care with habits, both on the beach and at home.
Now, as we look to the autumn and winter, it is heartening to see that despite 51% of people thinking dog poo is an issue and 33% believing litter is an issue at their beaches, 69% of those surveyed have said they are willing to pick up litter when visiting the beach in order to leave it cleaner than they found it.
The campaign raised awareness of the potential impact on bathing water by dog fouling and encouraging gulls by feeding and leaving litter. It did this through a combination of messaging online and campaign posters on bins and lamp-posts on site. Although lockdown restrictions made impact monitoring impossible this year, 'My Beach- Your Beach' has been shown to significantly reduce the amount of litter and dog poo at campaign beaches in previous years.
In addition, a new programme of online activity in the face of lockdown this year, was geared towards celebrating and engaging people with their local beaches, through information, quizes, photo galleries and a virtual Doggy Ambassador competition. These online interactives reached over 75,000 people across the six sites, with 77% on average having noticed at least one campaign message and 80% saying they'd like to see more campaign activity in the future.
Now in its third year, the campaign expanded to two new great beaches this year: Irvine and Troon, as well as Ayr, Kinghorn, Portobello and Fisherrow Sands.
Paul Wallace, Campaigns and Innovation Manager at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said,
“This summer, our local neighbourhoods became even more precious to many of us. For those #LuckyToLiveHere by the beach, the unprecedented pressures of more people taking holidays and day trips in Scotland, consuming more single-use items and take-away food and using limited services, such as toilets and bins, were felt.
“We’re grateful to both council staff and members of the fantastic community groups at each site for working tirelessly to keep their beaches clean for everyone to enjoy. Equally, we are delighted to find that, following this summer’s campaign, over two thirds of people from local communities have indicated that they would do their part to leave their beaches cleaner than they found them when they visit. Cleaner sands can lead to cleaner seas – a win win for our beach environments and communities.”
All six of the beaches selected for this campaign have faced challenges in improving the quality of their bathing water as measured by SEPA, and research confirms a significant link between behaviour on the land and the cleanliness of the local seawater.
We will be reporting further on campaign findings and outcomes in the coming months, with a final report scheduled for the end of the year.
To find out more about each beach, visit the campaign web page at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/mybeachyourbeach/
15 October 2020