by Emily Johns
2022 has been another big year for beach cleaning on Skye.
So far in 2022 we have recorded the collection of 10.3 tonnes of waste from the beaches of Skye and Lochalsh, with at least two more cleans planned. Hopefully we will manage to clear around 13 tonnes by the end of the year. As well as cleaning, we have created a dedicated beach cleaning website and Instagram page and created a new open Facebook page.
We continue to be involved in the Scottish Islands Federation Marine Litter Group (SIF MLG), and as part of this we have been engaging with Marine Scotland. This included a visit in early November to show a representative around some of the worst affected beaches on the Island. Thank you to DJ and Aileen for helping us to really give context to the history and scale of the problem we face.
As well as the Marine Scotland engagement, as part of working with the SIF MLG we are talking with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) about their data collection method, and how we can add data to their large database. There are extensive difficulties to using the OSPAR system used by MCS due to the sheer scale of ocean waste we face, so we are in discussions to help us to use their system effectively. We hope that the influence we have on the MCS data collection will improve their data for many other regions as well. Hopefully in the coming weeks we will start being able to input data and using the power of MCS to start influencing change in fishing and aquaculture.
Next year, we want to get funding for a dedicated beach cleaning boat. Currently we rely on borrowing boats to get to hard-to-reach places, which requires a lot of generosity from others. In order to access funding sources, we want to formalise as a CIO and are therefore on the hunt for a trustee with a good knowledge of boats! If you, or anyone you know has strong boating knowledge, and the time and energy to become a trustee then please reach out.
Overall progress is being made on the beach waste issue in Skye & Lochalsh, and much as it can feel like a thankless task it is important to look at how far we have come in recent years. Thank you to everyone who has helped at beach cleans or organised events, we (obviously) couldn’t do any of this without you!
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to know more or get involved.