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©Marine Conservation Society

A high-flying new project to identify Scotland's marine litter hotspots takes to the skies thanks to a collaboration between three charities

Written by Editorial Team, Donr

Published on Tuesday, 17th April 2018

Volunteer pilots and photographers will help to keep Scotland’s coastlines free from litter, if all goes according to plan with the new SCRAPbook project.

Three charities, the Marine Conservation Society, Sky Watch Civil Air Patrol and the Moray Firth Partnership, launched their new collaborative SCRAPbook project on Monday 16th April 2018.

SCRAPbook – Scottish Coastal Rubbish Aerial Photography – will see volunteer pilots and photographers fly around Scotland’s coastline and document its pollution hotspots and litter sinks. The aerial photographs taken on these flights will be fed into an online scrapbook for volunteers, communities, schools and individuals to direct beach clean-up and survey activities.

‘Our pilots get a unique view of the country’s coastline,’ said Sky Watch Chairman, Archie Liggat. ‘We fly sorties for many different reasons and are always dismayed by plastic contamination we see floating in our waters or landing on our beaches.

The charity's pilots get a unique view of Scotland's coastline – its photographers will take photographs to inform clean-up operations 

‘There will be seven Civil Air Patrol teams taking part who are all very excited to be joining forces with the Marine Conservation Society and the Moray Firth Partnership on taking the battle on ocean plastics to Scotland’s skies!’

Meanwhile, Catherine Gemmell, the Marine Conservation Society’s Scotland Conservation Officer – who coordinates the mobilisation of thousands of volunteers to clean up beaches and record the litter they find – added: ‘With nearly 10,000 kilometres making up Scotland’s mainland coast, we know there are many stretches of beach that our volunteers have not been able to survey yet.

‘SCRAPbook will enable our amazing volunteers to see where there are beaches that have yet to be cleaned and surveyed which will lead to a more robust evidence base of what and how much is being washed up on Scotland’s shores.

‘From the 5p carrier bag charge to the commitment for a Deposit Return System, Scotland has seen how much power data on beach litter can have – this project will provide an entirely new dataset that will be crucial to highlight to the Government and Industry what steps we need to take to stop this plastic tide hitting Scotland’s shores.’ 

The SCRAPbook project is part-funded by the Scottish Government through Marine Scotland and the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham had this to say: ‘I am delighted we are supporting this innovative project – SCRAPbook will make it easier to address the problem of litter from Scotland and many other countries gathering on our shoreline.’