Summer beach campaign finds more caring for the sand and sea
The 2021 edition of My Beach Your Beach has been officially brought to a close, with campaign results showing increased awareness around key bathing water quality and litter issues.
Following findings last summer that only about a third of people check bathing water quality when visiting the beach, this summer’s campaign has brought this figure up to an average of 45%.
In addition, 41% of people surveyed said they’d consider changing their habits at home or work, to keep drains and sewage pipes from blocking up and overflowing into our bathing waters, up around 10% from last year’s figures.
And nearly 80% of people from across the five campaign beaches said they’d be willing to pick up litter when visiting the beach, in order to leave it cleaner than they found it, up from around 60% last year.
These are positive outcomes for a campaign that aims to support bathing water quality improvements by encouraging beach stewardship among both locals and visitors and raising awareness of bad habits that can impact on the sand and sea. This includes leaving litter or dog poo on the beach, feeding and attracting gulls to the bathing water and blocking pipes by flushing ‘unflushables’ down the toilet or pouring fats, oils or greases down the drain.
Funded by the Scottish Government and supported by SEPA, My Beach Your Beach has been running since 2018 at a growing selection of popular Scottish beaches, Portobello, Fisherrow Sands and Kinghorn Harbour on the east coast of the country and Ayr, Troon, Irvine and, new this year, Saltcoats/Ardrossan on the west.
Litter surveys carried out for the campaign by local community groups at each site show that litter continues to be an issue, particularly at some of the west coast sites that were inundated with visitors as lockdown restrictions eased over the summer.
Georgina Massouraki, Campaigns Officer at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “My Beach Your Beach touches on a range of issues that show how our habits and choices can impact on the local environment and natural spaces that we all share.
"So many in the local communities at each site put in a lot of effort to keep their places looking nice and this is worth appreciating, respecting and supporting"
“It is extremely encouraging to see people showing more of a sense of ownership and responsibility around their local beaches and hopefully this will lay a strong foundation for ongoing efforts to get everyone playing their part in protecting the sand and sea.
Over the winter months, My Beach Your Beach will continue to engage people near the campaign beaches; particularly around indoor habits relating to pipes and drains in collaboration with local councils, businesses and schools. A new classroom resource has been rolled out to local secondary schools to provide an introduction to bathing water quality in the context of their local beach. A writing assignment encouraging students to reflect on their favourite aspect of the beach and explain why that makes it worth protecting will be featured as part of the campaign going forward.
For more information about the campaign and bathing water quality visit the My Beach Your Beach web pages.
15 October 2021