AN AMATEUR photographer collected almost 20kg of rubbish from Portobello Beach after visitors left mounds of plastic waste strewn across the sand following the week’s record-breaking temperatures.
Daniel Pauley initially went to the Capital’s picturesque seaside to snap a shot of the evening sunset, but admitted he was “sickened” to see bottles, baby wipes and children’s beach toys scattered along the shoreline.
The 27-year-old and partner Margo spent more than an hour filling bin bags with rubbish collected from a small section of sand near the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home using equipment from the specially-installed “litter picking stations” on the Promenade.
However, Daniel revealed he was “extremely disappointed” to see the state the beach had been left in.
He told the Evening News: “I knew it would be busy, so I thought I would just nip down for a very quick photo of the sunset, but what I saw was quite sickening.”
“To leave and not clean up your mess is one thing, but to leave the beach in that kind of state is just ridiculous, it is sheer ignorance.”
Police were called to disperse a large group of youngsters after a mass brawl reportedly broke out on the beach late in the afternoon.
But Daniel revealed a lot of the waste collected appeared to be left behind by families, with plastic star moulds and beach balls among the most common items picked up.
He said: “We were finding a lot of fruit shoot bottles and wet wipes, things like sweetie wrappers, beach balls, small bits of plastic, kids’ toys.
“Obviously there were some beer and cider cans, but I was really surprised by the sheer amount of things we found that had just been left behind by those with young kids.”
Beach users have been encouraged to clear up their own waste since rubbish picking units were put in place earlier this summer in response to a Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) study revealing the water quality was among the dirtiest in Scotland.
The Keep Scotland Beautiful charity identified Portobello as one of four across Scotland in need of urgent attention along with Fisherrow in East Lothian, Kinghorn in Fife and Ayr.
Daniel added: “People would look at us once but then not look again while we were cleaning up, I think they were avoiding that guilt.”
“One person helped us out of 20 people actually stopped to help us, which is disappointing because this is everyone’s responsibility.
“Given the recent awareness that has been raised about plastic in our oceans, you get a bit angry that people are not taking it seriously enough.
“We only have one planet, one chance at this, people need to be more aware of the damage their actions can cause.”