A TEAM of volunteers helped clean 15 bags of rubbish from above and beneath the waves at St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve last week as part of the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) Beachwatch project.
The blitz on litter began underwater with a clean-up dive of shipwreck ‘The President’ located just south of Eyemouth, which had become entangled with rubbish.
Dive boat charter company Marine Quest volunteered the use of their boat for the dive. Nine volunteer scuba divers took to the water armed with mesh bags and shears and collected two bags of rubbish.
The crackdown continued above the waves with two beach clean-ups. The first beach to be cleaned was Linkim Shore by volunteers from Scottish Enterprise and St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve.
Next up was Petticowick, just north of St Abbs. It was cleaned by members of the local community, St Abbs Marine Station and the St Abbs Rangers.
All the rubbish collected over the three events was recorded and the results sent off to the MCS.
The data will help the Society identify the main sources of litter at the St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve and keep the issue of the dangers of marine litter high on the local agenda.
The litter survey recorded the top five items found over the three events to be large plastic pieces, fishing line, rope pieces, plastic drinks bottles and metal drinks cans.
Georgia Conolly, Marine Ranger commented: “A big thank you to all the volunteers who gave up their time to take part in these vital clean-up events. Marine litter isn’t just unsightly; it can also be very dangerous to both humans and wildlife.
“MCS is working towards ensuring local communities right up to UK governments work together to try and stop littering at the source and the St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve is fully committed to supporting their work.”
The main type of litter found over the three events was fishing litter, like fishing line and nets. These are potentially lethal to marine wildlife as they can cause entanglement.
The second most common type of litter was public litter including crisp and sweet packets, fast food packaging and drinks bottles left behind by careless coastal visitors, or dropped inland and carried by rivers and winds to the coast.
The St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve regularly run beach clean-up events. If you would like to get involved, then please contact the Marine Ranger by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 018907 71443 or checking the Marine Reserve website, www.marine-reserve.co.uk.