by backpackingbongos

You would have thought that by getting as far away as possible from civilisation the more unspoilt the environment would be.  Sadly along our coastal waters this is not the case.  On a trip to the remote west coast of Jura late last year the entire coastline was covered in plastic and general crap.  This consisted anything from fishing crates, plastic bottles, flip-flops, shoes, old rope, more plastic bottles.  Basically if it floats there is a good chance of it turning up on a beach.

Sadly this was the same on Scarba, how the hell does all this end up in the sea?

On the plus side Reuben found a couple of dead footballs to play with.


18 Comments to “Plastic”

  1. It’s a sad indictment of man in the 21st century, only when the last ocean is poisoned will we realise, we cannot eat money!

  2. Shocking isn’t it, especially so considering the short time plastic products such as this have been around. The worrying thing is we can see this pollution, what about all the things we cannot see, all the destruction of habitat and animal life hidden below the surface of the sea? Makes me ashamed to be human. Glad you have taken the time to highlight it James.

    • I have read somewhere David that much of the oceans are comprised of tiny microscopic bits of plastic as small as plankton. Just think how that enters the food chain. The plastic that gets washed up I suppose can ultimately be dealt with, the stuff that has already degraded is probably there forever.

  3. I must admit, I’ve never really understood any kind of litter at all. I mean, isn’t it simple? Just take it home and put it in the bin!

    • Unfortunately this is on a much bigger scale that someone dropping a bit of litter Chrissie. I would imagine that much of it has seen the inside of a bin as some point in its life. Either that or judging by the single bits of footwear washed up there are loads of people hopping about with one shoe!

  4. Any amount of plastic crap floating around or washing ashore is bad news, but as David notes above, it’s perhaps the stuff you can’t see that does most harm to marine animals, plantlife and sea birds. A lot of the stuff you would have seen on Jura – as well as in the above pic – has been kicking around for a long time.

    Happily, there are are long stretches of the WCJ that are relatively rubbish free, especially north of Bagh Gleann Speireig; certain bays have a lot washed up by dint of their position in relation to tides and currents. The stretch of Scarba’s coast that Rich and I walked around on Saturday was almost detritus free until the last couple of wee beaches before Bagh Gleann a’ Mhaoil.

    Several years ago I contacted Argyle and Bute Council and told them about the situation on the WCJ and offered to spend a couple of weeks collecting crap if they could help with disposal. They’re quite interested in cleaning popular beaches where family groups can be photoed having a jolly clean up for their PR, but despite concerned noises nothing material came of it.

    Perhaps the solution is to burn it?

    • I would imagine that alot of the crap laying around has been doing the rounds for many years now. I was suprised how many plastic bottles there were though. Good to hear that the west coast was much clearer, Bagh Gleann a’ Mhaoil.was a bit of a sorry sight. Funny how I soon got used to it though. I did think about having a big bonfire on the beach but laziness and my own enjoyment put paid to that idea.

  5. Appalling. When I was a kid litter prevention was taught in schools. It should be again!

    • I think that too many people expect that others will clear up for them. I am always shocked when I see people throw stuff out of their cars.

  6. All those enormous tankers and ships that you see only have to sail about twelve miles off shore before they can dump their rubbish. And have you ever noticed the number of municipal dumps are on the coast? The one at Inverness I think has only recently been moved. So much lightweight rubbish is quickly and easily blown into the sea as it’s moved about by great dumper trucks.
    So much of what we have invented and made over the centuries as we have progressed has left scars on our world.

    • Did not realise about ships dumping their rubbish at sea Louise, something to look into I think. A really good point about the municipal dumps being on the coast, I noticed that there were lots of lightweight bottles knocking about.

  7. Unfortunately too many people are too lazy to pick up stuff they drop and plastic is the worst of all as it doesn’t biodegrade. Instead it just hangs around messing up the beaches and trapping seabirds.

  8. I was equally shocked by the sheer volume of crap on the beach at Harris on Rum. I naively thought it was the more popular spots that were worst affected but alas no. There was a certain grim fascination to what was there – an extraordinary number of wellies and toothbrushes of all things. Very sad indeed that dumping of rubbish seems to be the norm these days

    • Yep I remember all the crap on the beach at Harris on Rum, a real shame as it is a lovely spot. Footwear seems to be a popular item for lobbing in the sea………….

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