The Marine Conservation Society (MCS), Sky Watch Civil Air Patrol and the Moray Firth Partnership, have launched a project in which volunteer pilots and photographers identify Scottish coastal and marine pollution hotspots ripe for clean-ups.

The Scottish Coastal Rubbish Aerial Photography project, or SCRAPbook, hinges on overview images fed into an online scrapbook that volunteers, communities, schools and individuals can use to direct beach clean-up and survey activity.

“Our pilots get a unique view of the country’s coastline,” says Sky Watch Chairman Archie Liggat.

“We fly sorties for many different reasons and are always dismayed by plastic contamination we see floating in our waters or landing on our beaches.”

Seven of the organisation’s patrol teams are set to take part in the project.

“With nearly 10,000km making up Scotland’s mainland coast we know there are many stretches of beach that our volunteers have not been able to survey yet,” said Catherine Gemmell, MCS Scotland Conservation Officer.

“From the 5p carrier-bag charge to the commitment for a Deposit Return System, Scotland has seen how much power data on beach litter can have – this project will provide an entirely new dataset that will be crucial to highlight to government and industry what steps we need to take next to stop this plastic tide hitting Scotland's shores.”

SCRAPbook is part-funded by the Scottish Government through Marine Scotland.

The SCRAPbook team says it hopes to prepare for Scotland’s designated Year of Coasts & Water in 2020 by catalysing the biggest strategic beach-cleaning operation ever seen in the country next year.

More information can be found here.

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