THE Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is today launching its annual Great British Beach Clean.
The charity wants volunteers to help clean beaches on 16-25 September, and to record the rubbish that they collect.
The MCS has used data collected to campaign for carrier bag charges, single-use plastic bans, and Scotland’s deposit return scheme for bottles and cans, which is due to start in August 2023.
Last year, volunteers in Scotland collected more than two tonnes of litter, with more than three items recorded on average for each metre of beach surveyed north of the Border.
During last year’s Great British Beach Clean, 70% of all litter collected from beaches surveyed in Scotland was made from plastic and polystyrene.
Catherine Gemmell, Scotland conservation officer at the MCS, said: “We need to stop plastic entering our ocean at source by fairly transitioning to a circular economy where nothing is wasted and we move to a society of reuse, repair, and refill.
The Scottish Government is consulting right now on a Circular Economy Bill and the data our volunteers collect is vital evidence used to call for swift and ambitious action.”
She added: “Our volunteers have helped provide vital evidence to ban single-use plastic items like cutlery and cotton bud sticks.
“With 25 wet wipes found on average per 100m of surveyed Scottish beach during the 2021 Great British Beach Clean, our data is also currently being used to call for a ban on single use plastic wet wipes.
“We need government to be faster at turning off the single-use tap still pouring into Scottish seas.”
Read more stories on Scottish Field’s wildlife pages.
Plus, check out whisky columnist Blair Bowman’s take on the deposit return scheme in the last month’s issue of Scottish Field magazine.