Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Beach Rubbish

Pink footed geese migrating in off the North Sea at sunset.
Sunrise on the Isle of May this morning + watched with the first coffee of the day = no better start to the day.

The end of the visitor season on the Isle of May came to an end rather abruptly with the last few days of the May Princess sailings being cancelled due to crew illness. This made the Scottish Seabird Centre RIB that came on Sunday the last visitor boat for the year. It appears that it has been a record breaking year for visitors but we won't know for certain until we have a total up of all the boat numbers over the season.
So now we are doing a general tidy up of the island and shutting down all the visitor facilities so they don't get too battered by the winter gales. As part of this tidying up I did a last beach clean of the season at Pilgrims Haven so that it looked good for the last boat and the beach was clear of rubbish before the seals haul up. We do this regularly, probably every 2 weeks and it is always a depressing job because of the amount of rubbish that turns up, and often the same items. There must be plenty of footballers missing the target by a long way judging by the number of footballs that get washed up. Single shoes are another regular, but never a pair. But by far the commonest item is plastic bottles. For this last beach clean I picked up 44 plastic bottles of different types and everyone of them will have been discarded by someone in an irresponsible way. Of course those collected can now be sent to be recycled but it still leaves thousands just around the Forth that are gradually being broken up by the sea. The chemicals from the disintegrating plastic don't just disappear, they get taken up by organisms living in the sea and are concentrated at the top of the food chain, namely seabirds and seals. This is just one example of how people living miles away from the island can still have an impact on the wildlife there. So if you want to do one thing to help the puffins and seals that are so popular here then please recycle you plastic bottles.

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