Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, will join the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and hundreds of volunteers during a Great British Beach Clean event at Echna Loch Bay on Monday 23rd September.
The Great British Beach Clean is the biggest annual beach clean-up and survey in the UK and is organised by the Marine Conservation Society. The event is now in its 26th year and MCS hopes to beat what was a record-breaking 2018 with even more beach cleans organised and more volunteers getting involved. Last year, 2,913 Scottish volunteers took part, removing an incredible 75,807 individual items of litter at 135 beach cleans along 15,680 metres of Scottish coastline.
Liam will join the citizen science project to help clear and survey the litter found on Echna Loch Bay. Data collected by volunteers from over 25 years of MCS-led Great British Beach Cleans has been instrumental in the introduction of Scotland’s 5p single-use carrier bag charge, commitments to implement a ban on plastic stemmed cotton buds and to introduce a deposit return scheme for bottles and cans.
Mr McArthur commented:
“Orkney has a fine tradition when it comes to ‘bag the bruck’. I have been involved in such clean up efforts since I was at school in Sanday.
“Of course, these days there is a greater public awareness of marine litter, and concern about the problems caused by plastic pollution in our seas.
“I’m looking forward to joining volunteers of all ages at Echna Loch Bay to support the Great British Beach Clean campaign. This will be just one of many such clean ups taking place across the country. As well as helping tidy up our beaches and coastlines, I hope the initiative helps highlight the importance of reducing waste and protecting our precious marine environment”.
Lizzie Prior, MCS Beachwatch Officer said: “It’s fantastic to see that local MSP, Liam McArthur, will be joining us at Echna Loch Bay to support our Great British Beach Clean; it’s really important for decision-makers to see how much litter, especially plastic, makes its way on to our beaches. We hope that Liam’s attendance at the Great British Beach Clean will encourage local constituents to join us for an eye-opening day on the beaches of Orkney. It's vital that we all continue to work together to stop the tide of plastic in our oceans.”
This year, for the first time, the Great British Beach Clean will be sponsored by the Ocado Foundation, the charitable arm of the online supermarket. The Foundation will be sponsoring the event to the tune of £300,000 as part of the Environmental Pillar of its ‘Ocado Way 2020 Vision’.
Suzanne Westlake, Head of Corporate Responsibility & Corporate Affairs said on behalf of the Ocado Foundation: “We're delighted to be teaming up with the Marine Conservation Society on the GBBC. It will be an amazing four-day event and one we are proud to be a part of.”
Constituents looking to join Liam McArthur at the Great British Beach Clean can sign up to volunteer at www.mcsuk.org/greatbritishbeachclean and be part of the biggest and most influential fight against marine litter in the UK.