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Sept 2002 Index

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September 2002


On Sunday 22nd September, a team of 24 volunteers cleaned North Baths, Wick Harbour as part of the Marine Conservation Society’s Beachwatch 2002, the national beach litter survey and clean-up supported by the Crown Estate and DEFRA’s Environmental Action Fund.

The local event was organised by the Highland Council Ranger Service.  Volunteers included members of the community with help from the Caithness Critters (local children’s nature group) and Caithness Countryside Volunteers.

The volunteers recorded the types and quantities of litter found on the beach, as well as removing all the rubbish they found ensuring that the surveyed stretch of beach was rubbish free!  The results from the local clean showed that a total of 1628 items were found.  The 5 most common litter items recorded on the day were plastic drink bottles, plastic pieces, rope/cord/net items, crisp/sweet wrappers and plastic caps/lids.

The high amounts of plastic found follows UK trends, as over 50% of litter found in previous Beachwatch clean-ups was recorded as plastic.  This material degrades very slowly and therefore accumulates in the marine environment which poses a particular hazard to wildlife. Recently a Minke whale found stranded in France contained 800g of plastic bags and packaging in its stomach!

Whilst the clean-up resulted in a cleaner and safer beach, the data from the local survey will contribute to the national results.  National figures mean that the Marine Conservation Society can identify sources of litter and work towards reducing litter entering into the environment.  The results are also used as part of the International Coastal Cleanup to provide a worldwide picture of the types of litter in the marine environment.

Many thanks to all the volunteers who turned out on the day.  Please contact the ranger service on 01955 607758 for further information regarding up coming environmental events.

See Also
Marine Conservation Society UK    MCS Beach  Watch 2001 Report

Marine Conservation UK