Campaigning kids visit beach for the first time

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 13 March 2018

Children from a primary school in Perth have cleaned up the beach at East Haven after learning about marine litter in class. For some it was their first ever trip to the seaside.

East Haven beachclean
© Catherine Gemmell

I hope the children who are getting on the beach for the first time will be able to see just what a difference their support can make.

Catherine Gemmell,
MCS Scotland Conservation Officer

In January, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, visited Our Lady’s RC Primary School and was presented with a litter report based on findings from the MCS #wildbottlesightings campaign.

Today youngsters form the school visited East Haven to take part in a MCS beach clean and survey.

MCS launched its #wildbottlesighting project in September 2016 to support the call for a Scottish deposit return system led by the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland and the Have You Got The Bottle? campaign. Over 6000 reports of drinks bottles and cans littered all over Scotland’s rural, urban and coastal landscapes were reported to MCS by members of the public, including almost 3,000 plastic bottles, over 2,000 metal cans and over 1,000 glass bottles.

Despite some of the children at Our Lady’s RC never having been to the beach before, they supported the #wildbottlesighting campaign. Now they’ve all been on a beach visit to help collect data about the types of litter that are impacting Scotland’s landscape and marine life.

Catherine Gemmell, MCS Scotland Conservation Officer, who led the clean said she was delighted to meet up with the youngsters again: “I’m thrilled to be catching up with the amazing young campaigners from Our Lady’s Primary. We will be doing a 100 metre beach clean and survey so they can collect first-hand the all-important data to help us campaign for change and stop the plastic tide for good. I hope the children who are getting on the beach for the first time will be able to see just what a difference their support can make.”

Margaret Sharkey, a P3 teacher at Our Lady’s Primary, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our children to go to the beach and see the scale of the problem for themselves. A number of them who have never been to a beach before, so we’ll be giving them a first look at Scotland’s beautiful coastline, not just the litter too often found on it.

“During our project on water and marine life, the children were very surprised to find out that a huge amount of the litter thrown away in Perth makes its way onto our beaches. This is why they have become so enthusiastic about trying to help and raise awareness of the problem.”

The pupils said they were excited to see the sea and the sand for the first time, to find shells, hear the sound of the water and feel the sand on their feet!

One of the pupils who had never been to the beach before said: “The beach looks so lovely. But I saw some bits of plastic. I’m so excited this is going to be so much fun!”

Actions you can take

  1. Help us stop the plastic tide
  2. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2017

Did you know?…

Around 40% of UK beach litter can be directly sourced to the public

UK Seas provide us with resources from fish to renewable marine energy

Over time, one plastic bottle bobbing along in the ocean can break down in to hundreds of tiny plastic pieces