Here's how you can get involved in beach cleanups around Edinburgh this Saturday

Environmentalists and keen beach-goers will be out in force today to take part in International Coastal Cleanup Day, founded by American NGO Ocean Conservancy.

Friday, 20th September 2019, 7:30 pm
A beach cleanup at Wardie Bay earlier this year. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.

Water sports clubs and local community groups around Edinburgh and the Lothians will organise their own events to clean up litter from the area’s beloved beaches.

A number of events organised by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) Scotland will aim not just to pick up rubbish, but also to collect data on the type and prevalence of rubbish found.

This information is then used to inform lobbying of local authorities to campaign for measures to limit rubbish levels on the beaches.

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There will be a MCS cleanup at Cramond beach at 10am, and at Wardie Bay Beach at 11.30am.

Musselburgh will see cleanups at Fisherrow 10 at 10am, and at Fisherrow 2 and 3 at 11am.

Elsewhere in East Lothian people will gather at 12pm at the East end of Gullane beach at 12pm, and at Prestonpans East Beach at 1pm.

Calum Duncan, Head of Conservation Scotland at MCS said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for people to come out onto the beach and help stop the plastic tide. The information volunteers collect helps make the case for policy and legislative change to help get rid of plastic and other litter.”

He added: “It’s more than just a beach clean, the data helps us figure out the scale of the problem, We’re absolutely reliant on those volunteers and the information they collect.

“It’s great fun as well, it’s a chance to meet new people and enjoy being out on the beach. Last year was our biggest ever cleanup, so we want to beat that this year!”

The items most often found across the UK last year were plastic pieces, glass, cigarette stubs, packaging and string or cord.

Almost 30% of the items collected had been discarded by the public, while 6% came from sewage and 3% from shipping.

Nearly 3,000 people took part in the 2018 event in Scotland, cleaning 135 beaches.

Aoife Hutton, Project Officer at Keep Scotland Beautiful, added:

"I would encourage everyone to make the most of the sunshine, visit their local beach this weekend and help to protect this space for generations to come – even picking up a couple of pieces of litter can make a difference."