Charities Join Forces to Tackle Scotland’s Marine Litter  

Three charities are taking to the skies to find out the extent of Scotland’s marine litter problem. The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is joining forces with the Sky Watch Civil Air Patrol and the Moray Firth Partnership to launch the initiative called SCRAPbook, which will involve volunteer pilots and photographers identifying litter and pollution hotspots and taking photos of them.

SCRAP stands for Scottish Coastal Rubbish Aerial Photography, and the book refers to an online scrapbook where the photos will be made available for volunteers, communities, and schools to see. The images will enable organisers to survey the amount of litter, and direct clean up resources to the areas where they’re needed most. The chairman of Sky Watch said that their pilots are always dismayed by the amount of waste they see floating in the water or on the beaches.

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The organisers hope that the project will raise awareness about the extent of the marine litter problem and will enable the successful removal of as much of it as possible. There will also be a focus on educating people about how they can prevent waste from ending up there in the first place.

The MCS have thousands of volunteers who clean up the Scottish coastline and carry out litter surveys, but they admit that there are many stretches of beach that they have been unable to clean up. The SCRAPbook project should help identify areas that have previously gone unnoticed. The data collected will also be presented to the government and to industry to lobby for more to be done to prevent plastics from ending up in the waters and on beaches.

SCRAPbook goes nationwide

The SCRAPbook project started in the Moray Firth and the Moray Firth Partnership say they are delighted that the project is set to go nationwide. The project is part funded by the Scottish government who say they are happy to be supporting the project to make it easier to deal with the country’s marine litter problem.

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Scotland takes the lead on plastic pollution

Scotland has taken the lead in tackling the problem of plastic pollution. They were the first country in the UK to introduce a deposit return scheme and they plan to introduce legislation against cotton buds which are one of the items that most commonly wash up on beaches. The government has an advisory panel to help them reduce the use of single-use items, and their national litter and marine litter strategies are helping to reduce waste generally so less ends up in the waters.

2020 is going to be Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Water and the SCRAPbook organisers hope that the project will help to launch Scotland’s largest ever beach clean next year so there’s a cleaner coastline for 2020.