Every year on St Kilda we carry out an annual beach clean to record and remove any items of washed-up rubbish on the one single stretch of beach on St Kilda. This work is carried out as part of the Marine Conservation Society’s Adopt-a-Beach scheme, which uses volunteers to clean and survey beaches all round the UK, and helps to give an accurate national picture of the levels of marine pollution.
Beach on St Kilda. Photo by Terry Fountain
Last year, we found foreign items washed up from a total of 8 different countries, and were challenged on the “MacAulay & Co” show on BBC Radio Scotland to auction off on Ebay a Brazilian mustard container which had ended up on the beach. This was bought by Claire Harkess, a Scottish artist, for use in her work, and this year Claire returned to the island and helped out with the beach clean during her stay, which she hopes will provide her with inspiration for planning the piece.
The results of the clean this year again showed the problem that every beach now suffers with marine litter, particularly from plastics, even when you are as remote as our tiny island. A total of 555 individual pieces of rubbish were picked up, including 102 plastic drinks bottles, and rubbish was found from as far afield as China, Dubai, Greenland, Russia, Norway, Spain, Germany, Holland and Denmark. However, my particular favourite had to be the bottle of Revoltosa, apparently a popular soft drink from Spain. Not sure that it would have much of a market in the UK!
Sarah, Seabird and Marine Ranger