Over 45 people made it across the short ferry crossing to the Isle of Cumbrae to join us at FSC Millport for the Clyde Marine Litter symposium, run in partnership with the Clyde Marine Planning partnership (CMPP), on 26th November 2016.
The morning was kicked off with an informative presentation from Dr Natalie Weldon, who gave an overview on research into marine litter and particularly the issue of marine plastics. We then heard from Rachel Sedman, Jenny Stark and Manuela de los Rios, who gave an insightful presentation on the different ways marine litter issues have been tackled on Arran. These top tips where then built on by Sandra MacMillan who gave a poignant and engaging talk on the ways she has been trying to tackle this issue with the wider community on Bute. Then Audrey Baird showed a video of the beaches at the north of the Clyde, where vast amounts of litter is regularly washed up at the head of our sea lochs (you can view the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHMLvvxCGtg).
In the afternoon, Graham Humphries from KIMO, who traveled all the way from Aberdeen, outlined some of the ways the fishing community is working hard to reduce marine litter through the ‘Fishing for Litter’ scheme which is hopefully about to start in Troon. An engaging extra ‘out of catchment’ perspective came from Laura Curtis-Moss, from the RSPB, who outlined some of the lessons learned from litter initiatives in the Shetland and Orkney Isles. We then finished the presentations by hearing form Catherine Gemmell who gave a really interesting overview of the data form the Autumn 2016 beach litter clean (good news in terms of carrier bags, but still a lot of issues to tackle!).
Then the more challenging thinking began, and stocked up on ideas from the speakers and fueled by a good lunch, participants suggested different ways we could try and tackle the issue of marine litter during workshops facilitated by CMPP. These ideas are being collated by CMPP, and from this and the momentum from the day we want to make real inroads into tackling this issue in the Firth of Clyde. Key steps identified during the afternoon, to take forward included:
- Capture all the contact details of people at the event, and for those who want to continue to be involved, continue the discussions through an online forum and future events.
- Collaborate to create and share a bank of educational resources which can be utilised with school and community groups to raise the profile of this issue.
- Consider ways to exert pressure on manufacturers and distributors to change their practices to help reduce marine litter at source.
- Consider ways to change practices within organisations around the Clyde to offer more opportunities to reduce plastic waste and encourage recycling.
All the presentations are attached below, along with the finalised programme (which lists all the partner organisations with their logos). A big thank you to everyone who presented and attended; let’s keep the momentum going.