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SRUC Oatridge students adopt a beach in national campaign to clean up the coastline

Published Tuesday, 31st January 2017 in Study at SRUC news

Beach clean

A group of Animal Care students from the Oatridge campus have adopted a stretch of local beach at Blackness as part of the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) national Beachwatch program.

Beachwatch is a citizen science project that has been running for over 20 years and relies on volunteers to adopt part of a beach which they clean and survey the litter they find.

The students headed out to Blackness armed with protective clothing, survey sheets and bin bags - methodically identifying, recording and bagging all the items found.

In a 100m stretch of beach they collected six bin bags of waste weighing 25kgs. This included an incredible 232 wet wipes and 386 sanitary items – seen as key pollutants for marine wildlife.

The data from these beach cleans is fed back to the MCS pollution team, who analyse it to look at litter trends across the UK.

This data provides an evidence base for MCS pollution campaigns - such as #WildBottleSighting, a social media lobby for a deposit return system for plastic bottles, and ‘Wet Wipes Turn Nasty’ which calls for clearer labeling on wet wipe packaging.

Nicola Forrest, Animal Care Lecturer at Oatridge, said: “I volunteer for MCS and help with their outreach programme in schools and colleges. Adopting this stretch of Blackness beach to monitor is a great way to help our students further develop their citizenship skills and expand their experiences of animal related work opportunities.”

Catherine Gemmell, Scotland Conservation Officer at MCS, said: “To highlight the pollution problem in Scotland we are asking everyone to take pictures of littered bottles and post to social media with the hashtag #WildBottleSighting. The Oatridge students created the hashtag out of stones on the beach which looked fantastic!”

The cleanup was one of three to take place throughout the academic year and will be followed up in class with a presentation of the data once it has been analysed.

Photo caption: SRUC Oatridge campus group on the beach at Blackness.

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