By Sarah Sheldon, WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre‘s Guide and Events intern.
Plastic has recently been a hot topic, even more than usual here at the Scottish Dolphin Centre. Myself and the other interns have recently attempted to reduce our plastic consumption after watching the incredible eye opening film “A Plastic Ocean”. So when I was asked to host a beach clean on behalf of Marine Conservation Society as part of the Great British Beach Clean, I was enthusiastic to clean up as much as possible and spread the plastic free message!
Locals and tourists kindly volunteered for the day to clean up our beach. We managed to collect 12 bags of rubbish (as well as a hefty lobster pot), making a grand total of 30,725g of litter from only a 100 meter stretch of our beach; that’s not even a quarter of its length! The top items we collected were crisp packets (17), cans (23) and plastic pieces (55). These smaller pieces of litter can cause the biggest problems of all. Plastic never degrades, and so can only break up into these smaller pieces. Unfortunately this makes them incredibly easy to be eaten by marine and avian animals, far too often resulting in their death.
An estimated 50% of our plastic is used just once with more than 8 million tons of plastic dumped into our oceans every year*. These figures can feel extremely hopeless, but if we all make just a few small changes to our daily habits, these scary figures could drop dramatically. Simple things; like always using a bag for life when shopping, buying a lifelong water bottle so that single use plastic bottles are obsolete, and picking up litter wherever you see it, will all make an incredible difference. From trying to go entirely plastic free myself I know that it is a struggle, but the less we use and the more we clean up, the cleaner our oceans will be and the happier our beloved wildlife.