A grass-root environmental community-interest company based in the NW Highlands

Dr Joan D’Arcy – Coordinator
Dr Julien Moreau – Strategy
Roz Brooks – Director

Dr Joan D’Arcy background

  • Pharmacy experience
  • MSc in Geochemistry
  • PhD in Geochemistry
  • Member of SAS, marine protection activist group

Dr Julien Moreau background

  • MSc and PhD in Sedimentology
  • Academic carrier 15 years Geology and geophysics in Europe
  • Consultant in geophysics (self-employed)
  • Engagement officer John Muir Trust
  • Regional rep of SAS
  • Independent researcher (geology, plastic pollution)

Action plan

  • Remediation
    •  Formation of ‘plastic rangers’
    • Deal with hard-to reach areas
    • Follow mating-nesting-spawning calendars
  • Research
    • Quantify flux and stocks of plastics
    • Identify and develop recycling strategies
  • Outreach
    • Promote low footprint marine industry
    • Support businesses and public to limit plastic use


  • Plastic is a pervasive toxic compound which affects the whole trophic chain, including us. Today pollution is here for 500 years at least
  • Plastic production is growing exponentially and no current incentive actively reduces the quantity of plastics entering the environment, at contrary
  • The NW of Scotland is extremely polluted considering it is scarcely populated
    Volunteer-based remediation has showed its limits due to the scale of the pollution
  • Due to the remoteness of NW Scotland, it makes an ideal place to understand the relation between marine dynamics, biota and plastic pollution
  • Building a dedicated institution could focus the energies and provide efficient solution to conservation societies which have other missions
  • There is no recycling scheme associated with 90% of the pollution found on our shores (ropes, fishing and shipping gear)
  • There is no enforcement of the law regarding marine plastic pollution
  • There are probably 1000s of tons of plastics stored on our beaches, it is an opportunity to remove it from the environment and use the raw material
  • We could create jobs locally with different professional profiles
  • We would influence the public institutions by showing the true cost of pollution and focus funds towards actions rather than planning

Why do we care? Endocrinian disruptors!!!

  • Sex change
  • Modification of sexual development
  • Premature sexual development
  • Fertility issues
  • Cancers (skin, breast, brain)
  • Allergies
  • Obesity/ diabete
  • Genetic alteration

How much out there?

  • 80% of all the plastic created is in the environment
  • In 2015 250 kt at surface of the ocean, 51 000 billion particles
  • 94% sinks, 1% floats, 5% beach
  • 40% of plastic is single use (less than 20 min usage)
  • Only 2% recycled, 8% cascaded recycled
  • Plastics stays for 450 years and up to 1000 years

Beach clean stats 1 year

  • National: Surfers Against Sewage
    • 1393 beaches
    • 34779 volunteers
    • Recovered 97202 kg
  • Regional: Scottish Coastal Clean-up
    • 9 beaches
    • 1 volunteer + locals
    • Recovered 1020 kg
  • Local: Plastic@Bay
    • 1 beach
    • 1 volunteer + locals + tourists
    • Recovery 1426 kg

What has been done

Data collected in 2017

What has been done: Analysing

What has been done: Surveying+Analysing

Plastic recovered at Balnakeil beach until 26 October 2018

What has been done: Surveying extreme pollution

15-20 t of plastic there
3 m <=> 159 kg of plastics

What has been done: Simulations

Rough estimates based on press releases (source need to be validated)

Fracking boom

The transatlantic plastic pipeline

What is about to happen locally

Projections of local accumulations of plastics

What has been done: Communicating

Plastic@Bay workshop in collaboration with Living-seas NW Highlands at Ullapool Marine conference 2018

Plastic@Bay with Gail Ross MSP and Kimo-UK representative at the 2018 Durness Highland Gatherings

What has been done: Communicating online

Funding Channels

  • SSE Community fund (recycling)
  • FLAG (Vehicles)
  • Scottish government pollution sinks (1 M GBP) [procedure engaged]
  • Conservation societies (JMT, MCS, Geopark) [unlikely]
  • Crowd funding [Side welcomed support]
  • Recycling [sustainability]

Plastic@Bay Projects

Plastic rangers

Funded by SSE Community fund

Monitoring and Remediation

Funded by FLAG

Marine Plastic Lab at Balnakeil Craft Village

Funded by SSE community-Fund

Example of precious plastics products

Example of Fusion products

Go plastic free

Helping individuals to go plastic free

Plastic Free Community

Thanks for your attention