It’s that time of year again, when gale force winds return to agitate the seas bringing us plastic pollution from across the Atlantic and dislodging plastic that has been buried in offshore trenches for decades.
Above is Aodann, a cobble cove to the east of Faraid Head. On this day strong winds from the south west created a serge with huge waves. When we arrived the tide was too high, the steep cobble slope too slippery and dangerous to pass. Listen to the roll of the cobbles as they are pushed and pulled by the waves. Aodann mostly receives plastic pollution from the east, North Atlantic way. Large pieces of plastic get stuck and buried in the rocks, which is disastrous on a day like this when wave action can dislodge plastic and send it back to sea, while plastic lodged under the rocks gets grind down over time into microplastics. When the tide reseeded we got to work and removed 18 Kg, comprising of bottles, oil drums, an old kreel and the usual pieces of ropes and nets. We used our new winch, kindly donated from McLaren Tractors, Dingwall, to haul the plastic up the grassy slope.
Balnakeil Bay (Second Beach)
In early November we noticed the second beach at Balnakeil Bay was covered in a mixture of seaweed and marram grass, which means one thing, microplastics.
It is important to clean these deposits as soon as possible as they can be quickly washed back to sea, or a strong wind can cover it in sand and bury it. So we got to work, picking individual microplastics such as twine, rope, cords, fragments of hard plastic, and some nurdles entangled in the seaweed. We returned the next day to finish the job, but unfortunately a strong south westerly wind had transported sand along the beach burying the seaweed, marram and the remaining micoplastics.