Annual event will benefit local beaches

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LOCAL beaches will be given a thorough clean this weekend as part of Beachwatch, the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) beach clean and litter survey.

The event, which is tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday aims to highlight the issues of beach litter around the UK’s coastline.

Arbroath, Lunan Bay, Auchmithie, Monifieth and Broughty Ferry beaches are among those to benefit from Beachwatch.

Local organiser Doug McLaren, from Friends of the Earth Tayside, says he would like to see more volunteers than ever before lend a hand to make this latest clean of the above named beaches the biggest yet.

The litter surveys and clean-ups promise to be fun and informative social occasions.

“The tide of litter washing up on our shores is not just unpleasant to look at, it can harm and even kill some of our best-loved marine wildlife. Over 170 species including seabirds, turtles and whales have mistaken marine litter for food and actually eaten it, which in many cases has resulted in starvation, poisoning and ultimately a slow, painful death” says Doug.

“Plastic packaging and discarded fishing nets also injure, entangle and drown some of Britain’s favourite marine animals, including seals and dolphins.”

MCS surveys have recorded a steady increase in the amount of beach litter since 1994. The four main sources of litter found on UK beaches come from the public, fishing, sanitary waste (particularly cotton bud sticks) and shipping.

Locally, the dates and times for the beaches are: Saturday, September 17, 10 a.m. to 12 noon - Broughty Ferry East, meet car park at Bridge Street end of beach; Saturday, September 17, 2 to 4 p.m. - Monifieth, meet on Esplanade beside children’s play park; Sunday, September 18, 8 to 9 a.m. - Arbroath Harbour, meet at Lifeboat slipway; Sunday, September 18, 10 a.m. to 12 noon - Auchmithie, meet at bottom end of road down to the beach; Sunday, September 18, 2 to 4 p.m. - Lunan Bay, meet at car park.

“We want people to come down to these beaches and take part in an event that will not only make the beach look great for visitors, but will also help MCS identify where the litter comes and try to stop it at source,” added Doug.

This year the Monifieth/Soyaux Twinning Organisation is helping at Monifieth Beach in a sponsored clean up supported by Tayside Recyclers.

The last Beachwatch clean up at Broughty Ferry in 2010 found thousands of polystyrene packaging that had come adrift of some builders’ soft landing bags.

MCS Beachwatch results are vital in turning the tide on litter. They have helped influence changes to laws on the disposing of waste at sea, and resulted in investment in better sewage treatment at the coast. Local beach cleans all help towards highlighting this serious issue.