Dog and seagull poo pollutes popular beaches

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Keep Scotland Beautiful is urging the public to help make bathing water cleaner across Scotland's most popular beaches

Susan Smith's photo

17th July 2018 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

Sea gull and dog fouling on beaches makes the water less safe for swimming, according to a new campaign.

Keep Scotland Beautiful’s (KSB) new campaign, My Beach, Your Beach, aims to educate the public about the impact of allowing their dog to foul on the beach or leaving litter to encourage gulls.

Three of Scotland’s busiest beaches, South Beach in Ayr, Portobello Beach in Edinburgh and Fisherrow Sands in Musselburgh have all struggled to improve their bathing-water quality as a result of the problem.

KSB wants the public to be more aware that their behaviour, including feed sea gulls on beaches, is directly affecting the quality of the water.

Nicola Turner, community projects officer at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “We can all play a part in cleaning up bathing waters, improving the experience at the seaside for locals and visitors alike. Whilst visitor behaviour is only part of the solution, by bagging and binning dog poo, not feeding the gulls and taking our litter home, we can all be part of the solution and get cleaner water for us all to enjoy.

“The launch of our My Beach, Your Beach campaign emphasises our shared responsibility, and we look forward to meeting lots more local beach users as the campaign period unfolds.”  

A My Beach, Your Beach pilot project will focus on the three beaches and include information for local businesses, colourful bin wraps with key campaign messages, signage around the beachfront and a series of community engagement events.

The campaign is funded by the Scottish Government.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “This campaign is one of a number of measures to improve three of Scotland’s best loved beaches and bathing waters, which are enjoyed by thousands of people on a daily basis. Sadly, some of those users leave more than just footprints behind, with dog fouling and littering, which attracts gulls, impacting on water quality.

“Keeping our beaches and bathing waters clean is a priority for the Scottish Government, which is why we’re helping to fund Keep Scotland Beautiful’s campaign, and working closely with stakeholders to provide long term solutions to the problem.”

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is responsible for monitoring the quality of Scotland’s bathing waters. It confirmed that dog fouling and seagull fouling were impacting on the quality of the waters on these three beaches.

Terry A’Hearn, SEPA chief executive, said: “Every day SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s stunning environment, and we are committed to ensuring all of Scotland’s designated bathing waters meet water-quality standards.

“By targeting behaviour on land that can affect bathing water quality Keep Scotland Beautiful’s My Beach, Your Beach campaign will complement SEPA’s work."

Should the pilot projects be successful, Keep Scotland Beautiful hopes to roll out the campaign across many more of Scotland’s seaside locations.