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Shock at state of north west Sutherland beach

By Mike Merritt

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Scouriemore 1
Scouriemore 1

A beach in north west Sutherland is estimated to contain a staggering 20 tonnes of plastic - making it one of the most polluted per square metre, say clean-up campaigners.

Durness based Plastic@Bay linked with plastics campaigner Kiko Matthews to clean Scouriemore beach last Thursday and Balnakeil beach the following day.

Record breaking Atlantic solo rower Kiko (38), is cycling 7200km round the UK coastline taking part in more than 70 beach cleans along the way.

At Scouriemore she was left shocked at the scale of the rubbish.

Plastic@Bay’s Dr Julien Moreau said: “We identified the beach as deeply polluted, removing a massive 112kg in just 1.5 hours. We collected the usual ropes, fishing nets and fish farm pipes, the scourge of the North West coast.

“This beach has decades of plastic pollution, approximately 20 tonnes, which has been there for so long, it is now buried under large beach pebbles and boulders, and embedded in the surrounding soil and grass.”

The following day the team removed 7kg of microplastics and nurdles from a burn at stunning Balnakeil Beach at Durness and a 21kg fishing rope.

Dr Moreau said: “Kiko and her crew where shocked at the devastating state of Scouriemore, and have offered to highlight the issue of discarded fishing nets, rope and components.”

“We plan to return in the spring to remove the rest of the waste. It was just overwhelming.”

Kiko said: “The challenge isn’t just about cleaning up our beaches, it aims to bring communities together and is a great excuse to get outside with nature and do something positive for the plant and our health and well-being, all at once.”

People can sign up to sponsor or take part in a beach clean, run a beach clean, cycle or follow the Kik-Plastic journey at www.kikomatthews.com/kik-plastic or on social media @kikomatthews

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