City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Join the MCS army of volunteers to turn the tide on litter! BEACHWATCH 2008

By Editor - Posted on 17 June 2008


Join the MCS army of volunteers to turn the tide
on litter!

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) annual beach litter survey and clean-up takes place over the weekend of
20th - 21st September 2008, on beaches all over the
UK.  MCS is calling for volunteers
to help wildlife by spending a couple of hours at an MCS Beachwatch event in
Scotland to tackle the problem of beach litter, and to help make that weekend's
event the biggest ever.

The tide of litter is not just an
unsightly blight on Scotland's magnificent coastline. Over 170
species of marine wildlife including seabirds, turtles and whales have been
recorded mistaking marine litter for food resulting in starvation, poisoning
and fatal stomach blockages. In addition, plastic packaging and discarded
fishing nets injure, entangle and drown some of Britain's favourite marine wildlife,
including seals and dolphins.

Anne Saunders, MCS Scottish Projects Officer says, "This is YOUR chance to get involved with the biggest litter
clean-up and survey on beaches all round
Scotland.  The data YOU collect
will help MCS tackle the sources of litter and campaign to reduce the most
common items ending up on our beaches and killing wildlife".

Hundreds of Scottish volunteers participate in MCS
Beachwatch every year, ensuring that the event continues to be the biggest and
most influential project in the fight against beach litter pollution in the UK. MCS Beachwatch provides a simple and
effective way in which everyone can help tackle the relentless tide of rubbish
on our beaches and at sea.

MCS surveys have recorded a 96.5% increase in the amount of beach
litter compared to 1994, with major sources being public litter, fishing
litter, sanitary waste (particularly cotton bud sticks) and shipping litter.

Just under 4,000 volunteers took part during last year's MCS Beachwatch
2007 weekend, cleaning and surveying over 350 beaches and collecting over 2,700
bags of litter - a clear sign that beach litter is a major issue and is
important to the UK public. In Scotland, 563 volunteers surveyed 46 beaches. This resulted in an average of 2,727 items of litter per
kilometre, which equates to
almost 3 items for every metre stretch of beach surveyed, and is higher than the
UK average (2,054/km). MCS hopes
that Scotland's love for the coast will mean
that even more beaches will be involved in MCS Beachwatch 2008, making it the
biggest survey to date.

MCS Beachwatch results are essential in turning the tide on
litter. The results of recent surveys have helped MCS influence changes to laws
on disposing of wastes at sea, and resulted in investment in better sewage
treatment at the coast.

The data
collected by MCS Beachwatch volunteers also contributes to a worldwide project,
the International Coastal Clean-up, which takes place in over 70
countries worldwide. The Marine Conservation Society also works with the Project AWARE Foundation
(International) to organise underwater
clean-up events.

MCS Adopt-a-Beach and MCS Beachwatch are
supported by The Crown Estate. Fiona Wynne, Stewardship and Environmental Coordinator at the Crown Estate says, "Taking part
in Beachwatch is a great way to show you and your friends care about the marine
environment. We would like to see many more volunteers joining in this
year to make it an even greater success, so please make sure you contact MCS to
find out which beaches need your help".

online at: or telephone the litter team on 01989 567807.

Beachwatch 2008 Contacts:

Emma Snowden, MCS Litter Projects
Coordinator - Tel: 01989 567807/ 07793 118388

Anne Saunders, MCS Scottish
Projects Officer - Tel: 0131 226 2391 / 07894 566624

Sue Kinsey, MCS Adopt-a-Beach Officer - Tel:
01989 567807

Beachwatch contact number for the public -
Tel: 01989 567807

Harrington, MCS Communications Manager - Tel: 01989 561585 / 07816 217669

General Marine Conservation Society
switchboard - Tel: 01989 566017


Register online at:


The Marine
Conservation Society (MCS)
is the UK
charity dedicated to the protection of our seas, shores and wildlife. MCS campaigns for clean seas and beaches, sustainable fisheries, and protection of
marine life. Through education, community
involvement and collaboration, MCS raises awareness of the many threats that
face our seas and promotes individual, industry and government action to
protect the marine environment. MCS provides information and guidance on many
aspects of marine conservation and produces the annual Good Beach Guide (,
the Good Fish Guide and on sustainable seafood, as well as promoting public participation in
volunteer projects and surveys such as MCS Beachwatch, Adopt-a-Beach and Basking
Shark Watch The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is celebrating 25
years of protecting our precious seas, shores and wildlife this year. MCS will
be running a series of events and initiatives in 2008 to highlight the need for
better protection of our seas, celebrate the wildlife they support and give
opportunities for people to take an active part - on land or at sea. Log onto

MCS is campaigning for the Scottish Government to introduce
a Scottish Marine Bill. This is to be developed in parallel with the UK
Marine Bill, which MCS are campaigning for the Westminster Government to
introduce in the next Parliamentary session. A Marine Act is urgently needed to
provide better protection for marine species and habitats and establish a
planning system for the sustainable management of the marine
environment.  For further information see or contact
Calum Duncan, MCS Scottish Conservation Manager on 0131 226 6360.

MCS Beachwatch is an annual UK-wide beach litter survey and clean up, organised by the
Marine Conservation Society (MCS) since 1993. MCS Beachwatch is the flagship event of
the Adopt-a-Beach project, which encourages local volunteers to survey marine
litter every quarter.  Volunteers remove
all the litter from a measured area of their local beach, recording every item
that they find.  The data gathered from
MCS Beachwatch every September is published by MCS in the Beachwatch
Report.  This information is used at a
national level to raise awareness of the impacts of litter, to promote measures
to reduce litter at source and to campaign for aquatic litter legislation.  The fifteenth MCS Beachwatch litter survey
and beach clean took place on the 15th and 16th
September 2007.

Summary of MCS Beachwatch
2007 results:



Number of beaches surveyed


Total length surveyed (km)


Number of bags


% Recreational & Beach Visitors


% Fishing


% Sewage Related Debris *


% Shipping


% Fly Tipped


% Medical


% Non - Sourced


Total number of items


Total volunteer hours


Mean items/km


*If data from one beach where
over 8,000 cotton bud sticks were recorded is removed, the percentage for SRD
is 3.6%

The MCS Beachwatch 2007 Summary
Report is now available from MCS and can be downloaded at and,
alternatively the report can be emailed by request from The full report
can also be downloaded at and Photographs available to download from

MCS Beachwatch is the flagship event of the Marine Conservation Society's Adopt-a-Beach project, which encourages local volunteers to adopt their favourite stretch of beach and take part in quarterly marine litter surveys and
clean-ups.  For further information
please visit


A total of 43,078 litter
items were collected on 46 beaches over a total length of 15.79 km, despite the
fact that many surveys were cancelled due to appalling weather conditions.  On average
2,727.8 items of litter /km were found, more than the UK average (2,054/km). This represents the highest
density recorded in Scotland since 1996 (3,668/km) and a 30.41% increase in
density levels compared to 2006. (The overall litter density for Scotland falls to 2143.52 items/km when data from East Bay is completely removed from the analysis)

Recreational & beach visitors were the main major source of litter
recorded on beaches surveyed in Scotland, with a
density of 810 items/km surveyed, a 30.4% increase compared to 2006. The
density of SRD in
Scotland (708.8/km) was the highest of any country and over five times the UK average
, representing 26% of all litter in Scotland. However,
if East Bay beach is removed from the analysis, the density of SRD in Scotland
falls to 142.31 items/km, still higher than the UK average and the highest SRD
density of any country. Fishing debris was the third largest source
with a density of 264.3/km and has increased by 78.3% compared to 2006 figures
(although density levels still lower than UK average).
Shipping was the lowest of the main litter sources in Scotland with a
density of 53.3/km.

The Crown
has supported the
Marine Conservation Society's MCS Beachwatch campaign through its Marine
Stewardship Fund since 1999.  As owner of
over half the UK's foreshore and almost all the seabed out to the 12 nautical mile
territorial limit The Crown Estate places great emphasis on the good management
and stewardship of the diverse coastal land in its
care.  The Crown Estate works with many
organisations throughout the UK
including government departments, public bodies, environmental groups, industry
and local communities to ensure appropriate development and conservation of the
coastline. Beachwatch is an excellent example of The Crown Estate and the
Marine Conservation Society working together for the seventh consecutive year
to raise public awareness of marine pollution and encouraging
participation at a local level. For more information about The Crown
Estate visit or
contact: Katie King, Communications Dept, The Crown Estate: 020 7851 5009

The International Coastal Cleanup, involving
over 70 countries worldwide, is co-ordinated by
the Ocean Conservancy in the United
States, and provides a ‘snapshot' of the
amounts and sources of litter being washed up or dumped on beaches around the

Project AWARE Foundation (International) is a charity committed to the conservation and preservation of the
underwater environment and its resources.  To this end, it develops educational materials and programmes, public
awareness campaigns, supports innovative projects and provides direct financial
support to worthwhile endeavours.  For
more information, please visit