Apr 13 2012 Ayrshire Post (main ed)
IT took 356 volunteers just three hours to clear 850 bags of rubbish from 19 miles of South Ayrshire beach.
The fantastic result goes a long way towards ensuring that our stunning coastline remains major attraction for thousands of tourists this summer.
Church groups, scouts, pensioner and youth clubs were among those who took to beaches across the country to take part in the annual clean up operation organised by Ayrshire Rotary clubs.
A whopping 100 bags of trash were cleared from Barassie beach, while volunteers in Prestwick uplifted 200 bags of rubbish.
The stretch of beach from Doonfoot to Craig Tara saw 77 bags of litter removed while Ayr Rotary members led a team in clearing 340 bags of rubbish fromSeafield foreshore down to Bracken Bay, Fisherton, Dunure, North Croy, and Dipple Shore.
Jimmy Begg from Ayr Rotary helped coordinate the event.
He said: “While this figure is higher than last year’s total of 721 – largely due to an increase in volunteer numbers and beaches covered - a survey of five beaches covered in 2007 and 2012 shows a fall from 416 to 215 bags – a drop of 48 per cent.”
However, Mr Begg insists that more volunteers are needed to ensure that the good work continues.
He added: “Though this is a magnificent result, there is no room for complacency.
“Several miles of beautiful walking beach between Troon and Girvan have never been cleaned due to lack of numbers, and we desperately need even more keen fit volunteers willing to go that extra mile.
“Perhaps some of the many walkers and rambling groups who use and enjoy the Ayrshire Coastal Path might be keen to assist us next year.”
In the six years since the clean up started Rotary clubs have removed 4500 bags of rubbish from South Ayrshire beaches.
Mr Begg explained: ““It is also sad to reflect that every single plastic bag or bottle, broken toy, car tyre, discarded net or warp, drum-full of fishing boat sump oil, fertiliser bag, builders’ polythene – probably 150,000 items – was there as a result of a litter offence committed by some thoughtless member of the general public.
“Yet how many litter convictions have there been in Ayrshire in the past six years? Very few.
“And during this time, how much has it cost our councils to clean up and dispose of this mess?
“Probably running into millions of pounds, it would be much more cost-effective for the local authorities to pursue a more vigorous anti-litter policy – with all offenders given a spell of community service work cleaning up our beaches and public places.
“For two years we have suggested the need for legislation to impose a statutory deposit charge on all plastic drinks bottles, and cans (as happens in Germany). This would ensure the return of a great proportion of these disposable items to retailers who profit hugely from them, but leave others to clean up their mess.
“We are all - both general public and politicians - the custodians of a uniquely beautiful Ayrshire coastline - and it is up to us all to take action ensure that it remains beautiful.”
And on behalf of the five Rotary clubs behind the initiative – Ayr, Alloway, Troon, Prestwick and Girvan – Mr Begg thanked those who lent a hand on the day, including the coastguard for their standby presence in case of emergency, and especially South Ayrshire Council, who provided bags, litter-picker tongs, gloves and a most helpful staff who ensured the smooth and efficient collection and disposal of all the rubbish collected.