There’s a lot of rubbish in the sea and a lot that rubbish gets washed up on the beach; plastic bags, bottle lids, wellie boots, commercial fishing trawlers, you name it. Some items are obviously harder to move than others. Some require a large professional salvage operation, for others a crew of enthusiastic bin bag wielding eco-mentalists will suffice. For the St Kilda clean-up, it was thought that the former option would be the most suitable one, but you don’t always get what you ask for. (Only joking, Work Party 2!).
photo: Ian Brown
The beach here usually experiences a mild level of marine litter pollution but recently the wrecked Spinningdale (the commercial fishing trawler) has been breaking up due to exposure to the harsh sea conditions. January this year was particularly brutal and resulted in the stern section of the boat being ripped off. This has allowed all manner of material to spill out of the boat and be strewn across the beach. Luckily, all high priority environmental hazards were removed immediately after the boat came aground in February 2008 i.e. fuel, oils, lubricants etc. However the expanding foam that insulates the freezer compartments on the boat seems to have dispersed and found its way into every nook and cranny between every boulder along the beach, and so the participants in the St Kilda Beachclean 2009 encountered a slightly higher than average level of marine litter. To be precise, some 1719 more individual pieces of litter than in 2008, that’s an increase of 330%! A big thank you goes out to the members of Work Party 2, Sam, Morag and Roddy who all helped in the effort.
photo: Ian McNee