He­brides

The Oban Times - - Districts -

GREEN­PEACE’S ship Bel­uga II has set sail on a two-month sci­en­tific voy­age around Scot­land’s coast­line, in­ves­ti­gat­ing the im­pact of ocean plas­tic pol­lu­tion on some of the UK’s most beau­ti­ful land­scapes and iconic wildlife.

With stud­ies show­ing that 90 per cent of seabirds have in­gested plas­tic, sci­en­tists and cam­paign­ers aboard the ves­sel will ex­plore the front line of plas­tic pol­lu­tion, from gan­nets and ra­zor­bills on the Bass Rock, to bask­ing sharks in the He­brides and seabird colonies on the Shi­ant Isles.

Through­out May and June, the crew and sci­en­tists from Green­peace’s re­search lab­o­ra­to­ries, based at Ex­eter Univer­sity, will be aboard Bel­uga II to carry out sea sur­face sam­pling for mi­croplas­tics, sur­vey re­mote beaches for pol­lu­tion and in­ves­ti­gate seabird nests for plas­tic dur­ing hatch­ing sea­son.

The ex­pe­di­tion will take in sites of stun­ning beauty and bio­di­ver­sity, in­clud­ing the Bass Rock, Gunna Sound, Mull, Rum, Eigg, Skye and the Shi­ant Isles in the Outer He­brides.

Ari­ana Den­sham, oceans cam­paigner at Green­peace UK, said: ‘ With 12 mil­lion tonnes of plas­tic end­ing up in our oceans ev­ery year, there’s never been a more im­por­tant time for us to un­der­stand the im­pact of plas­tic pol­lu­tion on our most-loved wildlife.

‘ With 16 mil­lion plas­tic bot­tles be­ing dumped ev­ery day in the UK alone, we need se­ri­ous ac­tion from ma­jor soft drinks com­pa­nies in re­duc­ing their plas­tic foot­print.

‘And we need to see gov­ern­ment ac­tion on in­tro­duc­ing bot­tle de­posit schemes, to re­duce the amount of plas­tic end­ing up in our en­vi­ron­ment.’

Bel­uga II is ex­pected to sail into Oban on May 17-18.

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