This week, members of Kinghorn Harbour Residents and Environmental Group, who are committed to improving Kinghorn Harbour beach, carried out a litter survey to kick off this summer’s My Beach, Your Beach campaign from environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful.
Over 70 items of litter were recorded on 100m of the beach and prom at Kinghorn, capturing a snapshot of the local beach litter problem prior to the official bathing season start date of 1 June.
Litter is a key indicator for the My Beach, Your Beach campaign, which encourages beach users to take better care of the sand and sea, supporting efforts to improve bathing water quality, and in turn benefitting the local environment, community, and businesses.
The successful campaign, now in its fourth year, aims to raise awareness of the actions people can take to protect the beach and bathing water – including binning litter or taking it home, ensuring dog poo is picked up and removed, and not feeding the gulls.
Last summer 61% of people using Kinghorn beach said they’d be willing to pick up litter when visiting the beach in order to leave it cleaner than they found it.
This year, during the Year of Coasts and Waters, the campaign focuses on seven of Scotland’s well-loved beaches that have faced challenges with bathing water quality, as measured by SEPA.
• South Beach, Ayr
• Portobello Beach, Edinburgh
• Fisherrow Sands, Musselburgh, East Lothian
• Kinghorn Harbour Beach, Fife
• Saltcoats/Ardrossan (new in 2021)
By encouraging better care of the sand and sea, My Beach Your Beach contributes to and supports ongoing works to improve bathing water quality at these sites. Although last year’s campaign focused mainly on local beach users, this year the campaign will reach out to visitors as well, as lockdown restrictions ease. In addition to old campaign favourites like the doggy ambassador competition and #LuckyToLiveHere image gallery, this year’s activities will include litter surveys for people to get involved with, business support packs, a Young Reporters for the Environment competition and educational resources that celebrate the beach.
Georgina Massouraki, Campaigns Officer with Keep Scotland Beautiful said, “Natural spaces like beaches are now more precious than ever, as so many of us have discovered over a year of lockdowns. We are encouraging and supporting people to take a more active role in protecting these shared spaces and asking them to consider leaving the beach cleaner, rather than dirtier, than they found it. Plan ahead to leave no trace, simply taking an extra bag for your waste can help, and if everyone also picked up a few pieces of litter along the way it would make a massive difference.”
Carole Rhodes, Environmental Coordinator at KHREG, said, “We have benefitted from being part of the campaign for the past three years, seeing levels of litter drop between the first two years of the campaign presence. “The beach was very much a local haven during lockdown for many of the community, and we work hard to care for it and keep it nice for everyone. But there is still a lot of room for improvement, and together with local businesses, the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust and the community we are looking forward to welcoming back visitors and supporting them to do the right thing and enjoy, but also respect us and our beach.
Jeremy Harris, CEO of Fife Coast & Countryside Trust said, “Fife Coast & Countryside Trust is preparing for a busy summer and installing new bins, recruiting additional staff, increasing patrols, providing informal education programmes, and www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org and working with various volunteer litter picking groups. However, we are asking beach goers to play their part too by using the bins provided or taking litter away with them where bins are not available, to avoid polluting the sand and sea. We are delighted to be supporting My Beach Your Beach again this summer and urge everyone to enjoy the beach responsibly.’ The campaign, funded by the Scottish Government and supported by SEPA is being led by Keep Scotland Beautiful to sit alongside its Upstream Battle and Clean Up Scotland campaigns and annual Beach Awards.
Find out more about how you can get involved and contribute to the campaign on your local beach at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/mybeachyourbeach.