Scotland’s biggest ever beach clean-up gets underway

Scotland witnessed a seven per cent rise in beach litter last year. PIC: Alexa Pope/Surfers Against Sewage.
Scotland witnessed a seven per cent rise in beach litter last year. PIC: Alexa Pope/Surfers Against Sewage.
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Scotland’s biggest ever beach clean-up will get underway this month with organisers seeking volunteers to help clear the country’s coastlines of as much plastic as possible.

The organisation Surfers Against Sewage has set up a string of events in Scotland as part of its Big Spring Beach Clean with beaches from Aberdeenshire to the Hebrides, East Lothian and Fife to be cleared (see full list below).

Around 20,000 volunteers are expected to take part in the clean-up across the UK with hopes to attract at least 1,500 people to Scottish beaches for the events.

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Most recent figures show that beach litter in Scotland rose seven per cent last year, with 491 items found every 100 metres.

Further rises in ocean plastics and beach litter are predicted.

READ MORE: Scotland’s bid to ban plastic cotton buds

The Scottish Government announced earlier this year that it would legislate against the sale of plastic cotton buds - one of the most common items found on our shorelines.

A spokesman for Surfers Against Sewage said the Big Spring Clean Up was a “timely call to action” with David Attenborough’s recent series Blue Planet 2 helping to focus minds on the issue of ocean plastics.

The spokesman added: “Ocean plastic is set to treble to 16 trillion items by 2025, so never has it been more important for people to come together to tackle this human-made scourge of the seas.”

“In the last decade, the Big Spring Beach Clean has grown into one of the largest and most impactful marine conservation actions in the world.

“However we believe that this year is different, this year there is light at the end of the tunnel in the journey towards Plastic Free Coastlines, a light that recently became an explosion of ‘ocean plastic awareness’ thanks to the ‘Attenborough effect’ of Blue Planet 2.”

Volunteers in Scotland will be asked to record and share the presence of millions of items of avoidable plastics with the results to be shared with the UK Treasury consultation on single-use plastics.

Items to be collected and charted include plastic bottles, bottle tops, coffee cups and lids, straw, plastic bags and bathroom plastics such as toothbrushes, disposable razors and cotton buds.


- St Cyrus, Aberdeenshire, Saturday, April 14 from 3pm to 5pm

- Bulranald, North Uist, Outer Hebrides, Saturday, April 14 from 12pm to 2pm

- Out End Beach, Scalpay, Outer Hebrdies, Saturday, April 14, from 12noon

- Portincaple, Argyll and Bute, Sunday, April 15, from 10am

- Skatie Bay, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, Tuesday April 17, from 10am

- Oldshoremore Beach, Lairg, Highland, Saturday April 21, from 3pm to 6pm

- East Beach, Dunbar, East Lothian, Saturday, April 21, from 11am

- North Berwick, East Lothian, Saturday, April 21 from 11am

- Ruby Bay, Elie. Fife, Saturday, April 21, time TBC

- Balnakeil, Durness, Sutherland, Sunday, April 22, from 2pm to 6pm

- Garelochhead, Argyll and Bute, Sunday April 22, from 11am