Clean Planet Energy's Projects & Operations Director, Marta Marjan, recalls her day spent supporting our latest environmental project partner, 'Turning the Plastic Tide'. A day surrounded by the beauty of Scotland's finest nature, but also a sea of polluting waste-plastics.
"I woke up to a rainy, miserable day. Dark clouds accompanied me all the way across to Crainbulg Harbour in Aberdeenshire - I was heading for a beach clean up organised by Clean Planet Energy's latest partner, the East Grampian Coastal Partnership with their 'Turning the Plastic Tide' project.
As I awaited arrival of other volunteers the sky turned blue, and there it was - stretching for miles, the famous sandy beach of Fraserburgh Bay.
This is a well known spot not only for surfers with its point break and amazing waves, but also for the nature lovers with its Waters of Philorth Nature Reserve known as a haven for a variety of habitats and wildlife.
Yet this beach is considered to be the Aberdeenshire "garbage patch" due to intensity of litter on relatively small stretch of a coastline.
The reason for this sad state of affairs is driven by a combination of factors, to name just a few:
Fraserburgh Bay has no natural barrier to protect the beach from an ingress of undesired debris and waste
Once on a beach the waste is trapped between rocks from the left and a harbour from the right with no option to escape or travel further
Proximity to an extremely busy industrial hub.
But today, September 23rd 2021, the cleaning efforts of the volunteering team, supported in person by Clean Planet Energy, aided the reduction in waste plastics on this natural habitat. This is a response which aids the projects wider efforts of reducing the waste before it hits the beaches.
The work of Turning the Plastic Tide is working, you simply need to look at the numbers.
Total volume of waste went down from 4.14T in 2019 (500 meters of beach cleaned that year) to 3.64T 2021 (800 meters of beach cleaned this year).
The main offenders, blue plastic/rubber gloves, decreased from 557 (2019) to 166 (2021).
The growing awareness imparted by this project on the local area are changing behaviours and the collective care for our planet; its evidenced by this year’s improved result.
Today was a successful day of removing plastics, but the efforts cannot end here. In 2019, a study across the UK (paywall) found all large marine animals that were found dead on our coasts (including seals, whales & dolphins) had ingested waste-plastics. The work is far from complete.
At Clean Planet Energy we believe that 'Everyone deserves better'. We will therefore continue our mission to remove over 1 Million tonnes of non-recyclable plastic waste from our environment, every year, and continue to support charties that match our vision, such as Turning the Plastic Tide."
You can learn more about Clean Planet Energy's new sponsored charity partner, here.
p.s - and here's the final haul. All this, from one single beach, on one day, from one volunteer team... scary right?! - Feel inspired? Get Involved