New wave in bid to keep beaches clean

Belhaven Hill School's beach cleaners. Picture: comp
Belhaven Hill School's beach cleaners. Picture: comp
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Beer cans, crisp packets and even a wrought-iron candelabra were some of the items collected on a beach by school pupils at Dunbar.

Twenty-five children from Belhaven Hill School cleared up marine litter from a section of Belhaven Bay.

In total, the group managed to collect around 20kg of rubbish from part of the beach near where the “Bridge to Nowhere” crosses the Biel Water.

Tom Rawson, a maths teacher and head of conservation, told our sister paper the East Lothian News: “Plastic items can last for hundreds of years.

“Although we have cleared rubbish from a tiny stretch of coastline we know that the litter collected will not wash up on any other beaches again.

“We all enjoy the beach and therefore have a responsibility to look after our coastline.”

The initiative formed part of Surfers Against Sewage’s Summer beach clean series.

Previous litter picks have seen the group clear rubbish from stretches of Dunbar east beach, Pease Bay, Belhaven beach and the Tyne Estuary.

Dom Ferris, SAS’s Beach Clean Series project manager, explained: “Schools like Belhaven Hill play a unique part in the Dunbar community.

“The fact that 25 youngsters came down to the beach brimming with enthusiasm, knowledge and a willingness to roll up their sleeves and help our battle against the marine litter crisis sends out such a fantastic message.”

The Scottish Seabird Centre is also joining forces with North Berwick in Bloom and the East Lothian Council Countryside Ranger Service in calling for local residents to help turn the tide on litter.

A community beach clean will take place at North Berwick’s east beach this Saturday between 11am and 1pm. Litter-pickers should meet at the boating pond.

Rosie Oberlander, chairman of North Berwick in Bloom, said: “A clean beach is not only nicer to look at but it is essential to ensure our beaches are safe for visitors and wildlife alike.”

Only a couple of hours work will make a huge difference.”

Caroline Vevers, the centre’s events and exhibitions officer, added: “Marine litter is a major threat to our wildlife and everything we can do to minimise these threats is vitally important.”

Tyninghame beach and Gullane Bents in East Lothian are to be cleaned in a single day on Saturday by 26-year-old Catherine Gemmell to celebrate her first anniversary of working for the Marine Conservation Society.

“She will be at Tyninghame at 7.30am and Gullane at 9.30am.