Join Wardie Bay Beachwatch this weekend
Sunday 17th September 1.30 – 4pm
It’s the Great British Beach Clean (GBBC) this weekend (15 – 17 September) That’s the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) annual nationwide beach clean and data collection event which goes global once a year!
Wardie Bay Beachwatch is holding it’s seventh Beachwatch event of 2017 this Sunday (17th September) from 1.30 – 4pm and we want to see as many budding citizen scientists join in as possible!
Last year, in Scotland, 1,744 GBBC volunteers took part on 121 beaches around the coast. Overwhelmingly, the most found item was plastic. Plastic never goes away . It just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, known as microplastics.
MCS takes found evidence to Government, campaigning for effective legislation to better protect our marine and coastal environment.
Current campaigns include Don’t Current campaigns include ‘Don’t let go’ ,aimed at asking councils to ban the international release of balloons and lanterns; ‘Hang on to your Tackle‘, which aims to reduce litter from discarded fishing kit at popular angling site,h them and ‘Wet wipes turn nasty (when you flush them)’, calling for clearer labelling on non-degradable wipes that are clogging up our sewers and contaminating our beaches.
Furthermore, microplastics are an urgent issue globally. MCS has been successfully campaigning to ban the microbeads in all personal care products. Microplastics simply pass through filters in waste water treatment facilities, ending up as ocean pollution.
Nurdles are also a major hazard to marine and coastal life. The nurdle is the lentil-sized plastic pellet used to create all of our plastic products. Billions are manufactured each year and millions carelessly split in transit or at the factory, ending up again as marine pollution.
In Scotland, many campaigners have found a spike in nurdle numbers in the Firth of Forth. Last Friday (9th September), joined Fidra MCS and others to clean up a slick of pellets contaminating the Kinneil Nature Reserve which neighbours Grangemouth petrochemical plant.
Karen Bates, Wardie Bay Beachwatch volunteer and organiser, said: “It isn’t right that volunteers are here cleaning up after industry. How is it that there is so little accountability to stop pollution at source? Where it is clear that industry’s own backyard is polluted, why is the responsibility for clean-up not mandatory?
“If it was an oil spill they would certainly be made to compensate. More stringent legislation needs to be enforced to ensure zero loss of nurdles and microplastics into our environment. I want to see industry redesign entirely so fewer new pellets are manufactured from raw materials.
“We don’t need more single-use plastic from yet more fossil fuel. We need more responsible handling of our resources to stop threatening the balance of nature.”
Wardie Bay Beachwatch will welcome back Ben Macperson, MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith, to our event on Sunday. Ben’s invaluable support on the Have You Got the Bottle? campaign calling for a Deposit Return Scheme on drinks containers helped ensure it’s success.
Anna Lagerqvist Christopherson, owner of Boda Bars, a champion of the DRS campaign and regular volunteer at Wardie Bay, will also be joining us. Not prepared to wait for action, Anna brilliantly launched her own recycling rewreward scheme across all Boda Bars.
Then on September 5th, we were all delighted to hear Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement in her 2017-18 Programme for Government that a DRS would be implemented across Scotland, ahead of the rest of the UK.
MCS Beachwatch results are vital in turning the tide on litter. They have helped influence changes to laws on the disposing of waste at sea, and resulted in investment in better sewage treatment at the coast. Local volunteers at Wardie Bay have found on average 32.6% sewage related debris (SRD) at our Beachwatch events since March 2017, finding as much as 45.2% of the total waste collected on our first survey. The Great British Beach Clean results for 2016 showed the UK figure to average 7%! The Scottish average for SRD last year was 75 items per 100m of beach surveyed, with the UK average currently at 45 items per 100m.
Karen said: “Inspiring work is being done to encourage behaviour change and to promote the circular economy. We can all refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle and make sure we only put the 3Ps down the loo – but we need industry to step up before all life suffers further feedback.
“It’s been brilliant seeing all the volunteers prepared to make a difference at Wardie Bay over recent months, helping to spread the word on the need for better recycling and waste management. By acting locally, hopefully we can help to create change and then be part of that sea change on a national and even global scale.”
Anyone wanting to take part in the beach clean at Wardie Bay can find out more by contacting Karen Bates, email@example.com or you can sign up at: www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch/beach/wardie–bay/event/2017–09–17 .
You can also find us on facebook @WardieBayBeachwatch and twitter @wardiebaybeach