People from across East Lothian, Edinburgh and the Borders are coming together for a Big Beach Clean which aims to clean up the 87 mile stretch of coastline between Edinburgh and Berwick-upon-Tweed over one weekend this June.
The campaign will encourage volunteers to don their gloves, grab their pickers and rally their friends and families to get involved between Saturday 5th and Tuesday 8th June and tackle the serious problem of littering. The event is timed to coincide with World Environment Day on 5th June and World Ocean Day on 8th June.
The project was first envisaged by Tommy Dale from Caledonian Horticulture, working with Lil, a local waste awareness organisation, and Blue Wild who run nature boat tours. Lil are working across their community network to coordinate groups for the clean-up, and Blue Wild will come by boat to take away larger items identified by volunteers and get to coves inaccessible by land.
The initiative, sponsored by Gilson Gray a local full-service law firm, also aims highlight specific problem rubbish such as tampon applicators and fishing rope offcuts. By measuring the scale of the problem, it will make a stronger case for change, in finding more sustainable solutions and improving recycling habits
Commenting on the initiative, Tommy said: “We are aware there are many wonderful groups that have already ‘adopted’ certain stretches of the coast and clean them regularly. Our idea is to help highlight their work and fill in the gaps to clean the whole coast. Community groups are taking charge of their area of coastline and coordinating volunteers over the four days.”
Caledonian Horticulture will provide sacks for volunteers to use on the beaches which they will then collect, sort and weigh before being recycled. To showcase the impact of the initiative, local artists will create a marine litter installation that will be displayed at Fringe by the Sea in August in North Berwick, and some will be recycled into Ocean Plastic Pots.
Lil’s Sarah Brondson added: “We want this to be a fun weekend that also highlights the very real problem of ocean litter of which only a fraction ends up on our coastline. We hope it raises awareness about turning litter off at the tap, showcases the existing network of community groups, and hopefully introduces some new folk to litter picking. It doesn’t have to be a regular thing, just take a bag and gloves on any walk.”