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A cleaner beach

26 July 2013
There’s rubbish on our beaches and pollution in the sea. Not only is it an eyesore but it’s also a danger to the wildlife that occupy these habitats. The Marine Conservation Society organises a national beach clean every year. Unfortunately, beach litter continues to be a big problem with nearly 2,000 items for every kilometer of beach that was surveyed – shocking!!

Every year on St Kilda we participate in the national beach clean and remove the litter from beach in Village Bay. Although our beach is only half a kilometer long It would be very difficult for one person to clear by themselves so I very much appreciated that Work Party 2 were eager to lend a hand. The litter pick is actually a very satisfying job to get involved with, but perhaps I should have been clearer that it wasn’t a stroll along the sandy beach but rather a scramble over the boulders looking for litter that had wedged itself between rocks! Thankfully, the group didn’t seem to mind too much, the weather was fantastic and it was a good team building exercise. Beach clean - group, base, boatsBeach clean - group, west of slipway

Most of the litter we collected was small but the herculean task of removing an enormous fishing net adorned with floats and buoys was tackled by the group. Various tendrils of rope firmly anchored the net amongst the rock. These strands were painstakingly cut and the rope/net/buoy separated into two; the girls heaved one part over the rocks while the boys attempted to float the other along the shore.
Beach clean - ladies with netBeach clean - net in water

Removing this piece of ‘litter’ then became quite a team effort!! Chris, from Kilda Cruises, saw their struggles and nipped over in his zodiac to drag the mass of rope over towards the jetty.
Beach clean - net in water, mid way to jetty

Jonathan, the Work Party Leader, retrieved the rope and three of us hauled it back onshore.  It was then attached to the tow bar of one of the island land rover’s and driven by Alistair, a member of staff on the base, down to the skip. Net brought ashore by Chris

In total, 684 items of rubbish were removed from the 450m stretch of beach. Like previous years, plastic was the most numerous type of material found and accounted for 42% of all the rubbish.

Nothing terribly unusual was found this year but we were all very excited to find a message in a bottle and immediately began to speculate where it had come from. It didn’t take long to discover it was sent just a few days earlier from….wait for it…..Village Bay, St Kilda!! Beach clean - message in a bottle

I asked one of the day boat operators to release the bottle outside of the bay and hopefully someone much further afield will find it the next time.


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