Get involved in big beachwatch

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says it urgently needs volunteers to join the fight to stem the rising tide of rubbish that is appearing on Scottish beaches.

Last year’s Beachwatch Big Weekend revealed that litter levels on Scottish beaches increased by 24%, an average of than 2,000 items of litter for every kilometre of Scottish beaches surveyed in the MCS annual clean-up.

The data collected also revealed a shocking 32% rise in the amount of sewage-related debris in Scotland – that’s the stuff we shouldn’t put down our toilets but in the bathroom bin instead.

Scotland had the highest average litter levels in the UK of six out of the seven sewage-related debris items that MCS records: condoms, cotton bud sticks, nappies, tampons/tampon applicators, toilet fresheners, and sanitary towels/backing strips.

This year’s Beachwatch Big Weekend takes place on Saturday and Sunday, and its results will be published next spring.

The initiative involves local individuals, groups and communities heading to the coast to survey and clean up beaches making it the most influential fight against marine litter in Scotland.

MCS Scottish Projects Officer, Anne Saunders, said: “We are dismayed that the overall amount of litter within Scotland has risen by 24%.

“This is why we’re asking for the Beachwatch Big Weekend to be the best ever, and for as many people as possible to take part in a beach clean weekend to see what we’re up against and to help turn the tide on litter.”

For 2010’s Beachwatch Big Weekend, 767 volunteers collected 53,162 items from 57 beaches, covering more than 22 kilometres.

“In 2011 we would like to see even more volunteers get involved.

“It need only take an hour or two, its good exercise and, most importantly, it’s fun!

“Currently, only 37 beaches are registered to be cleaned in Scotland and we would like to see that figure rise in the last few days before the event to beat the number spruced up in 2010,” says Anne Saunders.

If you would like to get involved in the Beachwatch Big Weekend 2011 in Scotland visit www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch and you can register online as both an organiser and beach clean volunteer.