It’s World Environment Day today and I have only one thing to say to the people of Scotland
Gonnae No Dae That!
The that being the acts of flushing cotton buds, condoms, sanitary towels and wet wipes (no they are NOT flushable, regardless of what the label says) down toilets and the throwing of plastic bottles and other general waste onto embankments and into rivers (or anywhere else for that matter) for it all ends up in one place.
And eventually, they make their way onto our beaches. Beaches such as North Queensferry where I spent Saturday with a group of Scottish bloggers and vloggers, the Marine Conservation Society, Fidra and Fife Coast and Countryside Trust
We had met at the Hilton Queensferry who had kindly hosted the #ShoreYouCare event, organised by my Team 14 pal Susanne Arbuckle better known as Adventures Around Scotland to listen to talks about the damage being done to our oceans, coastlines, countryside and, the creatures that inhabit them by the disposable nature of our throwaway society.
We learned about how our beaches are becoming wastelands where rubbish outweighs sand.
And sadly, I did not make that up
For after the talks, we made our way down to the beach where I learned first hand about the extent of the problem.
We sectioned off a 100 metres stretch of beach and set about collecting and collating rubbish and it was the latter action that delivers an important strategic impact
Marine Conservation Society are able to gather and analysis this data from beach cleans across the UK to determine the types and probable sources of the litter that helps to advise on policy and practices.
While industries such as fishing and shipping are partly responsible, responsibility for over 52% of the waste lies squarely at our feet.
I collected 142 plastic cotton buds and together in just over an hour we collected over 12kgs in rubbish including a washed up shoe.
Each and every one of us have to ask ourselves why we believe that anything other than pee, poo and paper (the Three P’s) can be flushed down toilets and why we think that it is acceptable to dump our rubbish onto the streets? My local football stadium hosted Ed Sheeran this weekend and his fans treated our area like a bit of a Dive. For those that dumped the food containers, How Would You Feel if we dumped our trash in your gardens. Maybe I am Thinking Out Loud, but maybe we can all act a little more responsibly. But then , What Do I Know?
We will also always have selfish fly tippers more focused on short term financial profits than the long term environmental costs, but as individuals there are ways that we can help and there is some good news.
The introduction of the 5p plastic bag charge has seen a 14% reduction in bags being recorded on beaches.
Scotland are once again leading the UK with the introduction of a Deposit Return scheme for drinks containers and just recently announced the banning of single use coffee and tea cups in Scottish Government buildings.
By 2030 Scotland aims to be single use plastic free
But we cannot simply rely on regulatory action. We all need to shoulder some of the responsibility and there are many things that we can do
- Invest in a reusable cup (but please wash it) that you can take to work and to your favourite coffee shops
- Stop buying bottled water and simply hydrate with tap water (especially if you are lucky enough to live in Scotland).
- Carry cotton bags for shopping and consider how you actually shop. We have the fabulous Locavore shop that sells (actually it vends) milk in reusable glass bottles and pasta, grains, bread and vegetables in non plastic dispensers and bags.
- Switch back to a bar of soap and ditch the plastic shower gel bottle.
- And if really keen, get yourself a bamboo toothbrush
In fact, why not sign up to #GoPlasticFree in July and see how much plastic you can remove from your life?
Over the next few weeks I am going to be sharing some of the things that I am doing to help and some of them even combine my passion for being active.
So, please tell me what you are doing and let’s all encourage each other to do a little more