Tuesday 3 July 2018

Plastic Pollution on Shetland - a post for Plastic Free July

Shetland's beaches look beautiful (though tend to be rocky rather than sandy)

and the sea looks free of anything other than the occasional raft of auks floating past 

Unfortunately however there is a lot of plastic pollution around. The strandline which is made up naturally of seaweed and crabs is nowadays even here full of plastic and other waste. Sometimes on the beach you also find plastic like this bottle

We picked litter from the beaches as much as we could and if everyone did that it would make a difference. You can join in a beach clean with Marine Conservation Society, find out more here. Or your local Park friends group may organise regular clean ups. I pick litter every week as part of my volunteering work with Water of Leith Conservation Trust, who also run regular group cleanups - find out more about volunteering with the trust here.

One of the problems with plastic pollution is that often it looks like food to birds or sea mammals that are hunting and so they take it to their nest to feed to their young. This means that the young birds have their stomachs filled with plastic rather than food and so may starve to death.Not Whale Food specifically campaigns on this aspect of plastic pollution.
There are also many simple ways to reduce your use of plastics, see for example this list from Greenpeace. (However it's important to remember not to replace one problem with another. If you use cloth carrier bags instead of plastic bags you need to be aware that more energy is used in their production so just make sure that you have a few rather than keep buying lots of pretty bags, similarly keep cups are more energy intensive than throwaway cups so you need to keep using your keep cup not get rid of it after you've used it four times just to buy a prettier one.)

You can also commit to not using single use plastics for a month for Plastic Free July.

What are your top tips for reducing your use of plastic?


Simon Douglas Thompson said...

I wish I could give it up completely, just not practical. Will try and reduce.

Lowcarb team member said...

It is a very sorry state that there is so much plastic everywhere, something we all need to consider and cut down on, look for alternatives.

All the best Jan

Gabrielle Bryden said...

Our State has just banned single use shopping bags made of plastic :) It's amazing to me that just a generation ago, there was really no plastic in shops!

Caroline Gill said...

One of my small things this year has been to look for bedding plants etc. that come in recyclable or biodegradable containers - not plastic flower pots! I tried to sow more seeds to cut out this phase, but sadly most shoots died off in the drought while we were on holiday. Better luck next year when it probably won't be so sunny... Seriously though, I do like the biodegadable 'pots' that are sometimes available and hope they - or similar - become the norm.