WHEN a plucky band of volunteers braved driving wind and rain to clean up Cramond beach, they expected a load of old rubbish.
But even they were amazed to find a 31-year-old Coca Cola can complete with Seoul 1988 Olympics insignia.
Conservationists say the discarded receptacle is evidence why new initiatives are needed to correctly dispose of today’s litter.
“This really unusual find shows that when it comes to litter there is no ‘away’ and we need to ensure that anything we are using today is not being picked up by volunteers in 30 or more years’ time,” said Catherine Gemmell of the Marine Conservation Society.
“This can is the very reason that we’re calling on the Scottish Government to implement an ‘all in’ Deposit Return Scheme for drinks bottles and cans.
“Our data, collected over the last 25 years, has clearly made the case for this and we look forward to hearing more from the Scottish Government soon as to what the system might look like and when it will start.”
Deposit return schemes are designed to encourage more people to recycle certain drinks containers, like plastic or glass bottles and metal cans.
They work by charging anyone who buys a drink a small deposit for the bottle or can it comes in.
They can get this money back when they return the bottle or can back to a collection point to be recycled.
Aside from the can, beach cleaners collected over 400 items of rubbish at the spring beach clean and litter survey organised by MCS at Cramond beach on Saturday.
The 31 volunteers picked up rubbish weighing over nine kilos from a 100-metre stretch of the beach.
Over half of the litter was made of plastic, while a third were items that had been incorrectly flushed down the toilet – with over 100 wet wipes.
After the 100m survey was completed, volunteers picked up a further 86 kilos of rubbish from the beach.
“It’s a shocking eye-opener to our volunteers seeing items that have been incorrectly flushed down the toilet turning up on this beautiful beach,” said Ms Gemmell.
A campaign for clearer labelling on wet wipe packaging is being spearheaded by MCS, with evidence from Cramond submitted to Scottish Water and the Scottish Government.
“MCS can continue to campaign to stop these items turning up on the beach in the first place,” added Ms Gemmell.
The beach clean was supported by the People’s Postcode Lottery. Laura Chow, Head of Charities at PPL said: “I’m delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery have helped to support this beach clean at Cramond.
“We all have a part to play in keeping our seas clean in order to protect marine wildlife, and these beach cleans play a huge part in this.”