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Life's a beach at Scourie as pupils clean up bay

By Caroline McMorran

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All 17 pupils at Scourie Primary School and early level class braved the elements to carry out a beach clean on March 26 of Camas an Tairidh, the picturesque little bay behind the school.

The idea behind the beach clean came from the children themselves during visits to the bay to learn about the seashore and the history of the bay.

Early level class teacher Marianne Hutchison said: “The shore is lovely but we did notice that there was quite a collection of plastic rubbish in the grass, rocks and seaweed.

“The children worried about how litter was spoiling the beach and presenting a danger to wildlife. They wanted to be ‘eco-heroes’ and clear some of it, but we decided to wait until we could plan and do it safely.”

A successful application earlier this year to Keep Scotland Beautiful brought an award of £200 as part of the Litter Less campaign.

A joint initiative of the Mars Wrigley Foundation and the Foundation for Environmental Education, the Litter Less Campaign was launched in 2011 and is managed by Keep Scotland Beautiful.

It aims to educate young people round the world on the issue of litter and gives them the opportunity to engage their local communities in awareness-raising activities.

The funding covers the costs of equipment essential for the safe collection of litter and some associated learning materials.

Environmentalist Joan D’Arcy of Durness based plastics recycling group plastic@bay supported the beach clean, giving the children expert tips and Covid-19 advice as well as beach litter guides.

Mrs Hutchison said: “We are very grateful to Joan for her support.”

Ready and prepared, the pupils enjoyed a morning of hard work combined with fun which resulted in lots of learning, the development of new skills and a haul of 25kg of rubbish.

Most of the collection was plastic and ranged from rigid containers to bottles and bags.There was also plenty of rope to pick up, along with a stray flip flop and a hat.

The school now plans to weigh and sort the plastic and add information about it to the data collected and analysed by plastic@bay.

Mrs Hutchinson said: “Litter Less is Scourie School’s first step towards becoming an eco-school. The children are excited to be learning about and helping their environment and wildlife. "We hope to invite others in the wider community to our next beach clean."

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