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Deep Sea World Beach Clean May 2022

One of our Deep Sea World staff members alongside volunteers picking up rubbish.
Rachel our Visitor Service member alongside our plucky volunteers!

On the 22nd of May 2022, we decided to have a Deep Sea World beach clean in North Queensferry. As an aquarium, here at Deep Sea World we are all passionate about the conservation of aquatic life. This was a perfect opportunity for us to connect with our local community and do our bit for cleaning up our oceans. As they say, you got to walk the walk!

Why have a Beach Clean?

Our volunteers searching for rubbish on East Bay Beach.
Our volunteers picking up rubbish all across East Bay Beach.

According to Wave Tribe, beach cleaning is an essential as it helps coastal and ocean ecosystems. Rubbish in the ocean will kill sea life, and the toxic chemicals that they emit will harm life cycles. The are various types of pollution on the beach. One of the main forms being dumped or washed up rubbish. Having beach clean ups is one of the essential ways that we as individuals can help to protect marine life.

Volunteer holding a traffic cone found during our beach clean.
Managed to find a traffic cone littered on the beach!

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch and Trash Vortexes

According to National Geographic the Great Pacific Garbage patch (also known as Pacific Trash Vortex), is an accumulation of rubbish in the North Pacific Ocean. It is around the same size as the state of Texas. Plastic can circulate in the patch for many years, and poses a massive threat to sea birds and marine animals. Beach cleans means that are a small part in ensuring that we are not contributing to these massive ecological disasters.

The Impact of Plastic Nurdles

As outlined by Scotland’s Environment, Nurdles are small plastic pellets that are melted down to mould larger plastic shapes. They are used to create everything plastic from plastic bottles, to PS5 parts! These can be found all over Forth of the Forth beaches due to proximity with nurdle manufacturers, and these are incredibly toxic to the environment with them eventually harming food chains. With nurdles in the food chain some of the fish that we eat on our plates could contain plastic!

Volunteer picking up beer can on beach filled with sludge and dead small sea animals.
One of our volunteers finding a ‘lovely’ beer can filled with sludge and dead small sea animals.

Beach Litter and its Impact in Scotland

The marine environment page on the Scottish Government website details that marine litter is washing up on Scottish shores. Furthermore, it is entering the ecosystems via both Scottish sea, land, and even from different continents. The MarineScotland assessment reported that marine litter on Scottish beaches is still a major problem. Additionally, the highest amount of litter is reportedly seen in Firth of Forth harbours.

Selecting a Local Beach to Clean

We knew that we wanted our beach clean to be accessible to members of the community and identify a beach that needed immediate attention. As we are based under the Forth Rail Bridge, our local beaches can see the highest amount of litter washing into them. We did an assessment of East Bay beach, and we saw from initial investigation that it needed action taken.

Volunteer using their Surfers Against Sewage sack to collect beach rubbish.
Our volunteer filling up their trusty Surfers Against Sewage Million Mile Clean sack.

Working with Surfers Against Sewage

We have been very grateful to have our beach cleaning equipment being provided by Surfers Against Sewage. As part of their Million Mile Beach clean, they sent the equipment for free. They are a grassroots movement that have grown into one of the UK’s most active and successful environmental charities.

Working with Fife Coast and Countryside Trust

It is important that when conducting a beach clean to get the permission from the beach owner. The Fife Coast and Countryside Trust were kind enough to give us permission to host our clean. They also supplied additional equipment for our beach clean.

Our volunteer finding alcohol bottles in the bushes.
One of our enthusiastic volunteers finding an empty alcohol bottle in the high bushes!

Working with the North Queensferry Community

By creating a public event page on Facebook and lovely helpers posting on the local community board, eight members of the local community joined us! It was a day filled with rain so were very appreciative of our plucky volunteers who cam along with rain jackets and a helping hand.

Our 'treasure trove' of rubbish that we found all in one big pile!
Our ‘Treasure Trove’ of rubbish we found!

The Results of Our Beach Clean and Findings

We found a lot more than we bargained for! While the beach is small and regularly cleaned by locals, tides bring in rubbish to its shores on a weekly basis. We found a ‘treasure trove’ of rubbish (ironic we know!). From toy car steering wheels, traffic cones, and even a used covid tests. Additionally, we found many, many, many nurdles! We ended up with a hoard of rubbish and we are so happy that we were able to do some good for our local community!

Pink toy steering wheel found on East Bay Beach in North Queensferry.
One of our unusual finds, a toy steering wheel!

The Positive Effects this Will Have on Sea Life

The Enviromentor highlights that a local beach cleans have so many benefits. Firstly, can save the life of marine animals as they won’t get in contact with the rubbish that has been picked up and disposed of properly. Secondly, you help to keep toxic chemicals away from water sources. Thirdly, you can help boost local economies by making their beaches beautiful again!

One of our volunteers holding a plastic covid test found on the beach.
One of many plastic covid test kits found by our volunteers.

What are some Alternatives to Using Plastic?

We all use plastic in some form in our daily lives, the most harmful form of plastic is single use plastic. Plastic is one of the main things that are found on beaches in all kinds of shapes and forms. There are a wide range of reusable and more sustainable materials that can be used such as stainless steel, glass, bamboo, and biodegradable materials. Eartheasy have made a fantastic guide on what materials can be used where to replace plastic in your life here.

In conclusion, we had a great time cleaning East Bay Beach! Thank you again to all our volunteers who took part from the local North Queensferry community. You all made our very first Deep Sea World beach clean a success! Even on a rainy day we managed to achieve so much. If you would like to hear more about our future beach cleans please follow our social media pages!

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