The fight against beach lit­ter blight

The Galloway News - - REVELATION -

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

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