Pentland Canoe Club beach clean at Ard Neakie, Loch Eriboll

Plastic@Bay joined the team from Pentland Canoe Club, Beach Cleaners Unite and the Loch Eriboll Farm Estate to clean up the pebble beach by the old limestone kilns at Ard Neakie, Loch Eriboll (cover picture). Volunteers lifted approx 1 tonne of plastic from the beach (image below, after just one hour), approx. 70% was fishing nets, ropes and components (FNRCs), mostly plastic pegs used for fishing.

Most of the FNRCs have been lying on this beach for many many years, lots have unraveled into twine and disintegrated into micro-plastics so fine that they are now impossible to remove (some examples below). These micro-plastics are destined to be washed out to sea where they will persist in the environment presenting a potential risk to ecosystems and marine biota, and can enter the food chain. This is why It is so important to remove FNRCs from the beach before they become micro-plastics.

Julien also spotted a number of biomedia (image below), used in wastewater treatment. Biomedia are mostly plastic spheres or pumice consisting of tiny tubes that provide a large surface area on which water-filtering microbes can grow. They can be harbour potentially harmful and toxic substances.