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Caithness News Bulletins September 2003

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On Sunday 21st September, a team of 30 volunteers cleaned North Baths, Wick Harbour as part of the Marine Conservation Society’s Beachwatch 2003, 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 Ranger Service, Highland Council Planning & Development 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 905 items were found which was a favourable decrease from the 1628 items recorded from Beachwatch 2002. This reduction was most likely a reflection on the good weather and lack of on-shore gales which often bring in massive amounts of rubbish from sea. The 5 most common litter items recorded on the day were plastic drink bottles, polystyrene pieces, rope/cord/net items and crisp/sweet wrappers.

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 and to the Moray Firth Partnership who funded refreshments for the volunteers after the event.