Over half of the litter collected by Marine Conservation Society volunteers is plastic.

Volunteer beach cleaners collected over 400 items of rubbish at the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) spring beach clean and litter survey at Cramond beach on April 6th.  

Marine Conservation Society (MCS) spring beach clean and litter survey

The 31 volunteers, who braved the rain and wind to take part, picked up rubbish weighing over nine kilos from a 100m stretch of the beach. Over half of the litter was made of plastic, whilst 33% of the rubbish were items that had been incorrectly flushed down the toilet – known as sewage-related debris (SRD) - with over 100 wet wipes recorded during the 100m survey. 

After the 100m survey was completed, volunteers picking up a further 86 kilos of rubbish from the beach, with many shocked at the number of wet wipes that were found entangled in the seaweed.  

Catherine Gemmell, MCS Scotland Conservation Officer and BSAC Diving Conference 2019 speaker, who organised the clean, said wet wipe numbers were regularly high at Cramond. She said:

Catherine GemmellMCS - Catherine Gemmell
It’s a shocking eye-opener to our volunteers seeing items that have been incorrectly flushed down the toilet turning up on this beautiful beach. However, thanks to the data they help collect MCS can continue to campaign to stop these items turning up on the beach in the first place by reminding everyone to only flush the 3Ps down the loo – pee, poo and paper.

We’re also campaigning for clearer labelling on wet wipe packaging and we’ll be showing the evidence to Scottish Water and the Scottish Government to highlight the need for action to stop our seas from becoming a sewer.


Photo by MCS Coca Cola can from 1988 - MCS Beach Clean

Cramond beach clean

One of the most startling finds was a Coca Cola can from 1988 – supporting the Olympics, held that year in Seoul, South Korea.

This really unusual find shows that when it comes to litter there is no ‘away’ and we need to ensure that anything we are using today is not being picked up by volunteers in 30 or more years' time,

says Catherine Gemmell.

This can is the very reason that we’re calling on the Scottish Government to implement an ‘all in’ Deposit Return Scheme for drinks bottles and cans. Our data, collected over the last 25 years, has clearly made the case for this and we look forward to hearing more from the Scottish Government soon as to what the system might look like and when it will start.




Get involved in the next beach clean

The next Cramond beach clean and survey is on the 15th of June and volunteers can sign up to the event

Sign up


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