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Tourists shamed over waste left behind

By Staff Reporter

Visitors to north west Sutherland have once again been shamed for the "disgusting" mess they leave behind.

A Durness based environmental group has revealed it has found used nappies chucked from the road onto rocks as well as waste buried in the area.

The 516-mile tourism route NC500 wends its way along the north west from Lochinver to Kylesku and on to Kinlochbervie and Durness.

Plastic at Bay, which carries out regular beach cleans in the area and has employed Scotland’s first ever beach ranger, made its upset clear on social media.

Dr Julien Moreau, co-founder of the group, spoke out after he had been forced to lock a marine recycling bin at beautiful Balnakeil beach because of "tourist behaviour trashing our bin with disgusting waste".

He said the blue bin had been filled with nappies, dog poo and even human faeces.

It is the first time since that the recycling bin was put in situ in April 2017 that it has had to be locked.

The non profit group posted that it has done its best to explain what the marine recycling bin was for, but to no avail.

Dr Moreau, a geophysicist, stated: “Despite an increasing number of signs and explanations, visitors still persist in anti-social behaviour.

“We have found dog waste, food, dirty nappies, and human waste in the bin. Pollution in plain site.

“It takes at least one hour to clean the bin each week which impedes us from finish cleaning the whole of Balnakeil.”

And he added: “We also found nappies chucked from the road onto rocks and waste buried around.”

Its not the first time visitors have come under fire for not bothering to clean up and despoiling the landscape.

In August last year Kinlochbervie Community Council secretary Murdo Macpherson spoke out about the cost to the environment of the increasing number of visitors to the area.

He said at the time: “There has been an increase in litter. On the beaches locals are cleaning up the remains of barbecues and camp fires which leave scorch marks on the grass.

“Recently some people enjoyed a picnic at Loch Clash and then threw a plastic carrier bag full of rubbish directly into the sea where it bobbed in the harbour until someone waded out to get it.”

Regular Sutherland visitor Su Gripton, from Nottinghamshire, also spoke out at the same time as Mr Macpherson

She said: “There are nappies, human excrement and bottles filled with yellow fluid in laybys on the way to Scourie.

“I witnessed the occupants of one camper van throw waste straight into Scourie Bay and saw campers from a tent urinating against a community bird hide building.”

North, west and central Sutherland councillor Hugh Morrison spoke at a meeting of Sutherland County Committee in May about of the lack of infrastructure and services in the area to cater for the increasing number of visitors.

He criticised NC500 managers, saying: "NC500 will not put any money into anything including maintaining public toilets and rubbish removal. it is unfair that they are leaving the council to take the blame, deal with the negativity it causes and pick up the tab."

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