The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has released new figures that reveals the results of volunteer groups around the country taking to the shoreline to clear up local beaches.
While MCS say they have seen a greater number of volunteers turning out for their ‘Beachwatch Big Weekend’ than ever before, these efforts have revealed that in Scotland this has produced litter figures that outstrip the rest of the UK.
And top of the league where litter is concerned are Moray’s beaches.
While the average litter count for Scotland’s beaches was 1963 pieces for every kilometre of coastline, in Moray that count rose to 3260 – the worse in Scotland for those beaches where figures are available and comparing poorly with such as Angus where the figures was 1462 per kilometre.
While sewage related rubbish such as nappies and cotton buds being disposed in toilets was part of the problem, MCS say that fly-tipped rubbish was a bigger problem in Scotland than in other parts of the UK.
The Society’s Scottish programme manager, Calum Duncan, said: “Despite a drop in litter amounts in 2013 this is still a shocking tide of litter which is threatening the safety of beach visitors – both human and animal.
“It is simply rubbish being dumped and dropped, coming in from the sea or being blown from land.
“After 20 years of campaigning it is disheartening that in 2013 in the UK overall we are seeing worse letter levels than ever.”
The issue has long taxed local communities in Moray, with beaches failing water purity tests in 2011. In 2006 a ‘Moray Firth Partnership Beach Guardians’ report on litter found beach litter management throughout the region to be ‘patchy’.
A major issue identified over several exceptionally warm days last summer was that visitors flocking to Moray’s beaches were leaving their litter behind on the foreshore rather than taking it with them or using waste disposal facilities on site.