The fight against beach litter blight
The war against plastics that litter Galloway’s beaches is stepping up after aerial surveys exposed the scale of the problem.
Shocking images from the Scottish Coastal Rubbish Aerial Photography (SCRAPbook) study revealed beaches choked with marine refuse.
Now plans have been unveiled to remove the unsightly mess by boat from bays that are too hard to reach by land.
Dumfries and Galloway Eco Warriors and Oceans Need Us (ONUS) volunteers will spearhead the operation.
And the Solway Coast Partnership will provide planning and logistical support.
Manager Clair McFarlan said: “We’re hoping to get this done by the end of the year, weather conditions permitting.
“We’re looking for boat owners to help us get to little bays which are inaccessible by foot. We can remove the plastic but what we do after that is just as important.”
Plastic fishboxes, oil drums, jerry cans, tyres and traffic cones were spotted along miles of Galloway’s scenic coastline.
Locations ranked red – the highest category on the fivepoint scale – included Dundrennan shore, nearby Barlocco Bay and Southerness.
All were described as having “major, widespread accumulations” of marine rubbish.
Ms McFarlan added: “This litter is unsightly and dangerous. The plastic we collect will be put into skips on the harbourside and uplifted.
“There is a company in Dumfries we are hoping to work with to process it. Items will be sorted at the company’s base into recyclable and nonrecyclable material.”
Dumfries and Galloway Eco Warriors co- founder Laura Howieson said: “We will need boats to help us get to places we can’t reach by foot.
“Once there we can collect the rubbish and see what types of plastic are getting washed up and look at how we can recycle them.”
She added: “It is really sad it has come to this. But it’s good that people can now see the scale of plastic pollution caused by stuff being thrown away both on land and at sea.
“Mostly that’s through people not being educated about where it ends up or the damage that it can cause.”
Anyone wanting to help out can contact the Eco Warriors group through their page on Facebook.
The Scottish Government recently doubled the fund supporting projects involving marine plastics capture, collection and recovery to £1 million.
A recent Ellen MacArthur Foundation study found eight tonnes of plastic is dumped in the sea every minute.
Campaign Laura Howieson