A host of wildlife charities have united in a bid to crack down on marine litter and help protect coastal wildlife in south east Scotland.
The Scottish Seabird Centre, Keep Scotland Beautiful and the Marine Conservation Society are calling on people to ‘think first’ in order to save the lives of local seabirds and other species.
The organisations have come together as part of a Scotland-wide zero tolerance campaign targeting marine litter which can be fatal to wildlife.
Plastic and polystyrene can be broken down into small bits in the sea – these can then be ingested by birds resulting in death as a result of digestive problems.
Plastic bags can cause animals to become entangled and can be mistaken for jellyfish and other food by dolphins and turtles.
It is estimated that, throughout the world, over one million seabirds and 100,000 other marine animals die after becoming entangled in or eating plastic materials.
Tom Brock, chief executive of the Scottish Seabird Centre, “Here on Scotland’s east coast we are so fortunate to have a rich variety of seabirds and other marine wildlife.
“It’s all the way from Edinburgh down the coast to the border with England.
“Scotland’s marine wildlife, including everything from puffins, gannets and cormorants to seals, whales and dolphins, is of major international importance and wildlife tourism is now a key part of Scotland’s tourism industry.
“We need to look after our wildlife but instead our everyday actions are causing distress and sometimes their death. Seemingly harmless actions can have tragic consequences.
“Here at the Seabird Centre we see the tragic aftermath of thoughtless littering. We are appealing to everyone down the coastline to think first. Before you throw it away, think of the consequences. Please reduce, reuse and recycle.”
Quarterly marine litter surveys are carried out at a local level by St Abbs & Eyemouth Marine Reserve and one of its volunteers told ‘The Berwickshire’ that there wasn’t a huge problem in the area and nor was there a peak time for litter.
“We work very closely with members of the local community to keep our beaches clean and the surveys help us to nib any litter problems in the bud at the source.
“Fortunately, we don’t get many animals washed up here who have perished because of litter. We have thriving community of marine wildlife.”