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Scottish Wildlife Trust helps boost efforts to tackle marine litter in Ross-shire with new beach cleaning station at Melvaig


By Philip Murray

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Volunteers at the new beach clean station with some of the stuff they collected. Picture: Noel Hawkins, Living Seas.
Volunteers at the new beach clean station with some of the stuff they collected. Picture: Noel Hawkins, Living Seas.

EFFORTS to tackle the scourge of marine litter have received a boost after a new beach clean station was deployed in Wester Ross.

Following the success of a protoype station at Dun Canna, residents of Melvaig contacted Noel Hawkins, the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas Communities Officer based in Ullapool, as they felt a similar station would work on their beach.

Two local fishing boats – the Nereus skippered by Terry Jack and the True Vine skippered by Sandy Mackenzie – offered to contribute to the costs of signs and setting up the station and it was delivered on Saturday when local volunteers came out to do a socially distanced beach clean.

More than 1000 kg of rubbish – largely plastics including ropes, nets and fish farm pipes – was cleaned up and disposed of with the help of a quad bike and many hands. Organisers hope that the new beach clean station will allow volunteers to continue to keep rubbish levels under control. Two similar stations are also being made for deployment in Coigach. Another was recently delivered to Staffin on Skye.

The first beach clean station was installed at Dun Canna near Ullapool in 2017. After an initial beach clean that took almost three tons off the shore, walkers and tourists have kept the beach relatively clean by carrying out small cleans when they are there.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas Project maintains and keeps the station emptied with the support of Keanchulish Estate.

It is hoped that continued collaboration between community groups, the fishing industry and the Trust’s Living Seas Project will lead to more of these stations around the coast.

A spokesman said that the aim is “to tackle the growing amount of rubbish being seen in our seas and on our beaches. This litter is not only unsightly but also but poses a serious threat to wildlife and is even entering the human food chain as it breaks down into micro-plastics.”

For details about the project and how to secure a beach clean station, visit the Living Seas Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LivingSeasScotland

The Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas project is supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

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