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Beach clean to be business-wide effort, says Scottish Sea Farms
With just three weeks to go until the annual Marine Conservation Society (MCS) Great British Beach Clean, September 17-26, salmon farmer Scottish Sea Farms plans to make this year’s event its biggest yet.
The company has asked all staff – more than 480 employees across its operations on Scotland’s west coast, Orkney and Shetland Islands – to participate by choosing a registered beach local to them and helping to collect rubbish along a 100m stretch.
This will be Scottish Sea Farms’ fourth consecutive year of participation, with the company’s Orkney, Shetland and Barcaldine teams having led the charge previously.
And whilst last year’s involvement was restricted to employees only, operating in work ‘bubbles’ in line with Covid guidance, this year’s beach cleans will once again be opened up to employees' families, friends and local communities with restrictions now having eased.
Commenting on the decision to make participation in this year's Great British Beach Clean a business-wide effort, Scottish Sea Farms Managing Director Jim Gallagher said: ‘We each, in our different ways, make our living from Scotland’s waters. We each care deeply about doing so as responsibly and sustainably as we can, as evidenced by the sheer range of greener initiatives underway across the business today. So to devote a few more hours of our time to help collect and remove rubbish from our local shorelines seems like the right and natural thing to do.
‘The more of us that get involved, the greater the difference we can make, so we’re delighted to be able to welcome back family, friends and members of our local communities.’
Not only will participants be removing litter, they will also be recording what they find so the MCS can compile a national database to help inform and shape future policy around protecting our shores.
Previous beach cleans have revealed a high proportion of plastic and polystyrene among the rubbish collected, as well as metal, wood, pottery and ceramics, glass, paper and cardboard, rubber, cloth and sanitary waste.
The MCS said collating this data has helped to make a positive impact on the ocean, with the information driving the its conservation work and also feeding into the International Coastal Clean-up.
Data from previous hauls around the country has helped bring about environmental advances such as the introduction of the plastic bag charge, banning microplastics in personal care products, better wet wipe labelling, and supporting a tax on single-use plastic items.
Supporting this year’s event, 10 Scottish Sea Farms beach clean coordinators have volunteered to oversee efforts in their communities: from Barcaldine, Eriboll, Kishorn, Mallaig, Mull, Oban, South Shian and the Summer Isles on the Scottish mainland, to the Orkney and Shetland Islands.
Each coordinator is responsible for registering their local beach cleans, completing a survey of the litter collected and submitting the data to the MCS national database.
They will also deliver safety briefings on the day and issue protective gloves and bags, as well as packed lunches, to all those involved.
Scottish Sea Farms Environmental Scientist Kirsty Brown, a regular beach clean leader based in Orkney, said she was proud that what had been a relatively small, localised endeavour had now been embraced by the entire company.
‘Having taken part in the Great British Beach Clean for the past three years, we were keen to continue our own local support of this vital nationwide campaign,’ she said.
‘But to know that this year we will be supported by colleagues from across our farming estate, all pitching in to help clean their own local beaches, is really great to see. It might even encourage a little healthy competition as to who can collect the most litter per clean.’
A full list of all Scottish Sea Farms registered beach cleans is available below.
17/09/21 13:00 - 14:00 Weyland Bay, Kirkwall
17/09/21 13:00 - 15:00 Echna Loch Bay, Burray
17/09/21 13:00 - 16:00 4th Barrier, Burray Side
19/09/21 09:45 - 11:45 Taing Beach, Cliftsound
22/09/21 11:00 - 13:00 Burn Beach, Scalloway
16/09/21 13:00 - 15:00 Scallastle Bay, Isle of Mull
18/09/21 11:00 - 13:00 Teithill Beach, Barcaldine
23/09/21 09:00 - 10:30 Bheag Beach, Mallaig
23/09/21 13:45 - 15:30 Inverie Beach, Mallaig
23/09/21 14:30 - 16:30 South Shian Beach, Benderloch
24/09/21 10:00 - 12:30 Lismore Island
25/09/21 12:00 - 15:00 Badentarbat Bay, Summer Isles
Participants are asked to register in advance by clicking here and searching for the beach clean of choice in your area.