Kininmonth pupils tackle plastic waste

Kininmonth pupils at their litter pick event at Ugie Beach in Peterhead
Kininmonth pupils at their litter pick event at Ugie Beach in Peterhead

A forward-thinking group of pupils from Kininmonth Primary School are paving the way for beach cleaning by putting their ideas into action.

Pupils from P4 to P7 were inspired to get in touch with SCRAPbook, a national beach litter mapping project, to find out more about how Scotland is tackling marine plastics.

Having learned about the effects of plastics in the marine environment during a classroom workshop, the pupils later carried out their own beach clean and survey at Ugie Beach in Peterhead.

A total of 17 young volunteers were accompanied by the Beach Litter Officer for the East Grampian Coastal Partnership, Crawford Paris, as well as several teachers and parents.

For the first 45 minutes, the group conducted a litter survey at the mouth of the River Ugie, recording 305 individual items, before spending the next half hour cleaning the rest of the beach and going on to collect 160kg of waste.

Almost two thirds of the litter collected during the survey consisted of plastics and a quarter of the total source was from the public.

Crawford Paris, who is leading a regional beach clean initiative called Turning the Plastic Tide said: “By combining the information from SCRAPbook’s aerial surveys with the Marine Conservation Society’s Beachwatch forms, Turning the Plastic Tide are now able to record and remove marine litter of all shapes and sizes, from the large items right down to tiny plastics.”

“The passion of the pupils at Kininmonth Primary should be an inspiration to all of us as they are truly leading the charge in helping us to make a difference on our beaches.

“This is a promising start for us as we plan the next stages of our education programme for 2019.

“If we are able to replicate this with other schools in the north-east with the same enthusiasm, the future of our beaches could be in very safe hands.”

Head teacher Briony Mair shared the work of SCRAPbook with the children having heard a report about them on Radio Scotland.

She explained: “We wrote a report on their work as part of our ongoing topic on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. I was delighted at the children’s level of interest and the quality of their reports and wanted to share this with SCRAPbook, who responded brilliantly. It has been very rewarding.”

SCRAPbook uses aerial photography to record marine litter build-up around Scotland’s coastline.