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.