Over 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris is currently floating in the ocean.
During the third stage of our long-term Journey programme, Explore, our Young People get involved in the local community. Explore is all about connecting our Young People to the natural world and helping them develop an awareness, respect and appreciation for nature’s beauty and, importantly, its fragility.
Between March and June, our Explore group investigated the East coastline, from Belhaven, to Dunbar to the East Neuk of Fife. As part of Explore, our Young People decided to clean up local beaches in, and around, Edinburgh. The group dedicated their efforts to the Marine Conservation Society, who are running a UK-wide campaign to tackle the increase of wet wipes and single-use plastic washing up on our beaches.
Our Young People spent 24 hours, over 4 sessions, cleaning Crammond Beach. They covered 1260 square meters, filled 31 bin bags and collected a staggering 7,289 wet wipes – weighing a total of 191.7kg.
The tables above show some of the other litter which washed up on the shore, such as clothing, plastic bottles and sanitary products.
When asked about their experience, the group said that it was difficult to return to the beach and see their hard work undone every time the tide came back in.
Our Young People said it was “really disheartening” to see the amount of rubbish on the beach and it was “emotionally draining to clean public spaces when no huge impact was obvious.” Some Young People said it was the “hardest part” of their Explore experience overall.
Even though their project was, at times, a difficult experience for our Young People, we’re proud of them for the commitment and effort they put into each session.
Check out their infographic below, which captures their findings. We hope their efforts highlight that we can all do our bit, in our homes and on the beach, to make our oceans, and everything in them, safer.