Scottish Marine Litter Strategy launched

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 19 August 2014

Scottish Marine Litter Strategy launched Environment Secretary goes down on the beach to reveal plans on tackling marine litter MCS Scotland Programme Manager, Calum Duncan, joined Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead at Portobello West Beach, Edinburgh today (19th August 2014) for the launch of the first ever strategy setting out how to tackle the problem of marine litter around the country’s coasts and waters.

Scottish Marine Litter Strategy launched Environment Secretary goes down on the beach to reveal plans on tackling marine litter MCS Scotland Programme Manager, Calum Duncan, joined Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead at Portobello West Beach, Edinburgh today (19th August 2014) for the launch of the first ever strategy setting out how to tackle the problem of marine litter around the country’s coasts and waters. MCS had led calls for a Marine Litter Strategy for almost a decade, and hundreds of MCS supporters had responded to last years consultation. Calum says the Scottish Government’s proactive approach to strategically tackle marine litter was a step in the right direction: “For over two decades our volunteers have been cleaning their beaches and gathering proof of the increasing trend in marine litter through our Beachwatch project. This strategy incorporates some MCS recommendations such as extending Port Waste Reception Facilities to include fishing vessels, expansion of the KIMO fishing for litter initiative, encouraging alternatives to plastic micro beads in personal care products and highlighting the need to tackle sources of sewage related debris.” MCS believes the Scottish marine litter strategy provides a great opportunity to enhance education and awareness, as well as providing the tools and input to facilitate change. We believe marine litter is a wasted resource, and we can all play a part in reducing it. Introducing the strategy, Richard Lochhead said he was committed to the successful implementation of the strategy, building on the national litter strategy, and working with partners to review progress and make amendments to the approach as required. Most importantly, he said, it will also require everyone to share, and contribute to, the strategy’s vision to ensure our seas can be enjoyed by all and used sustainably. “Scotland’s marine environment is one of our greatest assets and it is in everyone’s interests to preserve it. Marine litter is a significant problem and a staggering amount of discarded materials - particularly plastics - wash up on our beaches every single day,” said Mr Lochhead. Costing Scotland ú16.8 million every year, marine litter impacts on our environment, wildlife, industry and tourism. A Marine Litter Strategy for Scotland details the scale of the problem and almost 40 new actions to minimise coastal and marine litter. It reveals: The majority of litter found on Scotland’s beaches and seas is made up of plastics, which present a significant risk for marine wildlife. Marine litter is a significant issue for the fishing industry - vessels participating in the Fishing for Litter initiative landed over 374 tonnes of litter between 2011-14 and it is estimated that the problem costs every vessel in the Scottish fleet as much as ú17,000 annually. We are already doing a lot in partnership with stakeholders including KIMO, Marine Conservation Society and Keep Scotland Beautiful but are seeking to do more and improve co-ordination of projects. Efforts will be focussed not only on clearing up litter that has already entered the marine environment but also on preventing it from ending up there in the first place - 80 per cent of marine litter is thought to have been dropped on land. You can help make a difference to Scotland’s beaches by signing up to the Great British Beach Clean here

Actions you can take

  1. Visit the beachwatch website
  2. Organise a beach clean
  3. Join a beach clean
  4. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2017

Did you know?…

On UK beaches levels of litter have doubled in the past 20 years

Globally, plastic litter has reached every part of the world’s oceans

It’s estimated that one rubbish truck load of plastic litter enters the ocean every minute

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