Beach plastic project takes its message to Scottish Parliament

Evidence gathered in Shetland will be used as part of a national exhibition exploring the prevalence of beach plastic on the Scottish coastline.

Julia Barton with her installation shown in Shetland Museum last year. The ‘rocks’ are actually melted plastic now categorised by geologists and known as plastiglomerates. Photo: Austin Taylor

Artist Julia Barton took samples from beaches around the isles as part of her Littoral Sci:Art project. He work was aimed at highlighting how much plastic has become part of the environment and the potential cost this will have on the marine environment and wider society.

The #CleanBeachesScotland event and exhibition is being held at the Scottish Parliament next month for invited guests. It is organised by Ms Barton and Sita Goudie from Shetland Amenity Trust, along with the Marine Conservation Society.

Ms Goudie said the event will celebrate new and successful ways of tackling marine litter in Scotland and the next steps Scotland needs to take. It will include presentations by Ms Barton and the Marine Conservation Society, as well as displays from Shetland Amenity Trust, Scottish Association for Marine Science, FIDRA – an environmental charity based in East Lothian and KIMO – the local authorities’ international environmental organisation

“A wide range of experts – marine biologists, community engagement groups, harbour masters, waste management consultants, ecologists and environmental group representatives from across Scotland, will also be on hand to discuss the issues and explore how we can achieve #CleanBeachesScotland,” said Ms Goudie.

Shetland beach samples will be included with samples from over 120 beaches throughout Scotland, visited by Ms Barton in the last four years.

MSPs will be asked to pledge action and support moves to reduce, recover and recycle waste within our economy rather than allow it to leak into the marine environment.

Aith JHS S3 pupils with creature sculptures they made in response to a workshop held at the school looking at how plastics get in the food chain as part of the Littoral art project. From left: Isla Moffat, Nina Moncrieff, artist Julia Barton, Nicola Robertson and Tenneka Patterson. Photo: Dave Donaldson


Add Your Comment
  • Michael Garriock

    • November 27th, 2017 15:59

    If Governments would actively discourage the production and use of ‘un-necessary’ packaging, and the use of plastics for packaging in general, a large portion of this ‘problem’ would instantly vanish.

    If you don’t want the mess, or to have to try and clear it up, don’t make it in the first place. It really is a no-brainer.

    When you bought a loaf in a brown paper bag, a chunk of cheese wrapped in greaseproof paper, and a pound of nails in a paper bag from out of a cardboard box, nobody with any wit died from it and there was no real pollution issue.

    While its admirable that folk want to try and do something positive with their surroudings, as long as manufacturers are allowed to produce and use as much plastic as they like with impunity, any action taken at the receiving end can only ever be symbolic rather than actual in addressing and reducing the problem.

    There is no future in continuing to bale out a boat when the water is coming in faster through a hole behind you than you can throw it out over the side.


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