Tag Archives: pollution

Car free streets for #CleanAirDay in Edinburgh

As cars were banned from The Mound, Hanover Street and part of George Street for the afternoon I was asked to run a sketching workshop

On Clean Air Day, which is the 21st June events were held throughout the UK promoting better, cleaner inner city environments for pedestrians and cyclists. Here in Edinburgh the City of Edinburgh Council closed the route between the top of the mound and the St Andrews Street end of George Street.

An ‘Urban Garden’  of cushions, trees and huge deck chairs were arranged and electric bikes were tested on the car free streets. There were processions and talks about how important it is to provide clean air, plus a pipe band and a ceilidh along the cobbled thoroughfare.

I thought is was great and think there should be sections of George Street pedestrianised to make this a permanent feature, or at least a summer feature when the weather is good as it was on Thursday.

After a quick invitation on line I was joined by some enthusiastic sketchers and we made these drawings of George Street without cars. Thanks those who came along and I look forward to catching up with you at a future event.

For more information about the Clean Air Day celebrations, and for information about  how to be involved in next years event, see the link below.

The sketches were all made on location with fineliner pens, waterbrushes and small watercolour sets.

Clean Air Day website

Highlighting the plastic tide beneath the Forth Bridges

Ferryscraig BeachClean 2On 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.

Ferryscraig BeachClean 1

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.

Adventures Around Scotland website

Marine Conversation Society UK website