On Saturday 2nd June I took part in a beach clean on Ferrycraigs Beach in North Queensferry, recently named the worst in the UK for nurdle pollution.
Nurdles are small pieces of plastic which are the raw material used in the manufacture of plastic products. Spills and mishandling by industry can mean nurdles end up in the sea and wash up on our beaches.
Many nurdles are also consumed by marine animals and seabirds who mistake them for food, and it isn’t hard to see why after seeing how small, colourful and abundant on our beaches. Scotland has 10% of Europe’s coastline, and 61% of the UK waters meaning in Scotland we will feel the impact of marine pollution more than others.
When we first arrived at Ferrycraigs I was astounded by the beauty of the location, nestled between the Forth Road Bridge and New Queensferry Crossing the instinct is to look up at these awe inspiring gigantic structures towering above us and the stunning views across the Firth of Forth.
However when I did look down I was equally shocked by the amount of plastic washed up on this small beach. I initially mistook the nurdles for the sand they had mixed with, then realised the ground was covered in them.
Organised by Adventures Around Scotland travel blogger Susanne Arbuckle and Catherine Gemmell, the Scottish Conservation Officer for the Marine Conservation Society UK, our group of 35 volunteers collected 12kg of rubbish in about an hour, including 861 pieces of plastic, which does not include the nurdles as these were too many to count!
Although it sounds a lot to collect it was slightly depressing to see the small dent we had made on the beach but as Susanne states on her website:
Small actions make a difference and the more people that carry out small actions, the greater difference it makes.”
For more information and to get involved see the links below. Illustrations were made on location with a fineliner and watercolour set.