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Last Updated: Friday, 20 April 2007, 06:54 GMT 07:54 UK
Beach waste 'hits record levels'
Cotton buds found on beach [Pic: Kent Wildlife Trust]
Cotton buds on two Scottish beaches made up 64% of UK waste
Record levels of sanitary waste were found on Scottish beaches in a survey by an environmental pressure group.

The amount of sanitary litter found by the volunteers who surveyed 60 beaches was three times the UK average.

The Marine Conservation Society said the worst culprits were East Bay beach at Helensburgh and the Saltings to Bowling stretch in West Dunbartonshire.

The pressure group blamed the number of discarded cotton buds and tampons which had been flushed down toilets.

This should be such an easy environmental issue to resolve and yet the public message is still not getting across
Calum Duncan
Marine Conservation Society

The MCS Beachwatch 2006 report said levels were the highest recorded since the survey began in 1994.

Calum Duncan, MCS Scottish conservation manager, said: "Cotton bud sticks and other sewage related debris on our beaches are not only disgusting to look at, but since the majority of these products are plastic, they also persist at sea for many years.

"This should be such an easy environmental issue to resolve and yet the public message is still not getting across - don't use your toilet as a wet dustbin.

"Individuals have a responsibility to Bag it and Bin it - never flush it."

Visitors' litter

He said the worst offending Scottish beaches were both on the Firth of Clyde, where one of the biggest conurbations in the UK was situated.

A total of 946 volunteers took part in the clean up operation at 63 beaches in Scotland last year.

After sewage-related debris, rubbish dropped by beach visitors was the next biggest source of litter, followed by fishing debris.

On average 2,091 items of litter of all types were found per kilometre of beach - more than the UK average of 1,988.

Litter on beach [Pic: Kent Wildlife Trust]
More than 60 of Scotland's beaches were monitored

Some of the more unusual items found during the UK survey included a boomerang, a road sign, and a plastic T-Rex toy.

Colin Bayes, the director of environmental protection and improvement with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), said the study had highlighted two causes for concern.

He said these were "a small number of sewage trouble spots, which are under investigation, and an indication that many individuals continue to spoil the environment for the rest of us".

He said bathing waters were improving each year, but that litter and rubbish lessened the enjoyment of a day at the beach.

He added that a plan was being developed to address the problems in areas like Bowling.

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SEE ALSO
Scots beaches pass quality test
14 Sep 06 |  Scotland
A-Z of Scottish beaches unveiled
21 Jun 06 |  South of Scotland
Beach safety shows 'improvement'
16 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Sewage mars beach improvements
22 Mar 05 |  Scotland

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