Shore You Care

Last weekend I joined a group of bloggers and content creators for a very important cause, a beach clean near Edinburgh on a beach recently reported as the worst for nurdle pollution. Do you know what a nurdle is? If you don't, a nurdle is a small pellet of plastic which serves as the raw material in the manufacture of plastic products. In the photo below is the huge volume collected on a previous beach clean but in reality this doesn't even begin to illustrate the true volume of the amount of these tiny pellets that are polluting our beaches.

Just a 'drop in the ocean' of the sheer number of nurdles polluting our beaches 

The day, organised by Susanne, the lovely blogger behind Adventures Around Scotland was a chance for us all to come together, hear some inspirational talks and do our bit towards helping clean our beaches. We met at the lovely looking DoubleTree by Hilton hotel at Queensferry Crossing. I was unavoidably about fifteen minutes late, thanks to a cancelled train 🙄 so didn't get to see much of it beforehand but luckily didn't miss too much of the first talk of the day. Catherine Gemmell from the Marine Conservation Society UK was the first speaker of the day and also kept us all organised at the beach clean later. It's fair to say she's an inspiration and I think made all of us stop and think about our own impact no matter how good we thought we might have been in our attempt to avoid unnecessary plastics in our lives. Following on from her, and equally inspiring and thought provoking, we then heard from Alasdair Neilson from Fidra, a charity based in East Lothian working on environmental issues affecting the local community, and in the afternoon from Robbie Blyth from Fife Coast and Countryside Trust.

View from the Beach of the Queensferry Crossing 

Before lunch (and our afternoon speaker) though was the main reason we'd gathered together, to do our own beach clean. This was the first time I'd ever taken part in one and whilst I knew what it involved the reality of the amount of rubbish on the beach was just shocking. Some of the rubbish was very obvious but digging a little deeper and more and more became apparent. What was even more shocking were the hundreds and hundreds of nurdles literally everywhere. From afar they look like little pieces of gravel everywhere but sadly they are far more sinister.

Getting our kit ready for the beach clean

nurdles everywhere

The clean itself covered an area of approximately 100 metres, we split into small groups and set off with our gloves, litter pickers and rubbish bags. Each group also had a clipboard with an important checklist for us to check off the items that we found. This ranged from pieces of plastic and polystyrene of various sizes, glass, plastic bottles through to sanitary waste of various kinds. In the end we collected 12 kgs of rubbish between us totalling 1238 items, including 322 plastic cotton buds and hundreds and hundreds of those horrible nurdles. A pretty impressive amount for just over an hour but equally heart-breaking to think we collected that much and yet so much more still remained on that beach after we left.

 My group's bag of rubbish

The message I took from the day was that whilst beach cleans are great and they do help what we all really need to do is think about our use of plastic day to day and try to cut out as much as we possibly can. I knew I was far from perfect but after this day I really realised just how much plastic I use and throw away without giving it a second thought and if I put my mind to it just how much I can reduce my own plastic footprint.

To help you (and me) there's lots you can sign up to and get involved with wherever you are. Firstly the Marine Conservation Society has a #GoPlasticFree challenge for July which you can sign up to here if you're keen. Whilst it's a big undertaking for anyone in our convenience led world it's well worth attempting if you can. Alternatively you can get involved in a beach clean yourself, either joining an organised one near you or arranging your own and in the process help the society continue to collect data about the rubbish polluting our beaches. Check out their site and enter in your postcode for events etc. happening near you. It's not just the Marine Conservation Society who have challenges and events you can join, if you're based in Scotland Fidra have The Great Nurdle Hunt which by joining will help them gain a greater understanding of where they are coming from and just how widespread a problem it is. 

The day didn't end for us there though we were lucky enough to then join a boat tour out into the Firth of Forth and see some of the wildlife our beach clean was helping to save at close quarters. Keep your eye on my blog for a post coming up very soon about that part of our day as well.


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