Brownies support whales and dolphins

04 July 2018

WDC's Scottish Dolphin Centre Beach Clean At Spey Bay

Elspeth Shears is a residential volunteer at the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre in Spey Bay, the Moray Firth Ė she took part in a beach clean recently and this is her story.

WDC and 4Ocean joined forces and hosted a beach clean event at the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre in Spey Bay.  Sixty of us volunteers gathered ready for an afternoon of beach cleaning.  Armed with litter pickers, gloves, rubbish bags and plenty of enthusiasm we headed out onto the beach.

Our intentions for the day were clear Ė to confront the pollution problem we are facing. I think there is something rather special about a group of people coming together for a single cause such as this.

Physically clearing up litter is an integral part of tackling the plastic problem in our oceans.  Plastic that finds its way into the sea poses a real threat to the marine creatures that unknowingly ingest it or become entangled in it. As a charity working to protect whales and dolphins, WDC are raising awareness about the detrimental impacts of marine pollution. Because plastic is Not Whale Food!

Beach clean with 4Ocean at the Scottish Dolphin Centre

Between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the sea each year Ė thatís morethan the total weight of every blue whale on the planet Ė and there are increasing concerns that the amount of plastic in the ocean could triple by 2025. These figures are completely mindboggling and not good news.  

56% of all whale and dolphin species, from small fish eating porpoises to the largest filter feeding whales, have been recorded eating plastic that they have mistaken for their natural food source. The issue is that no matter if itís plankton ingesting micro plastics, or a turtle ingesting an entire plastic bag, plastic can travel all the way up the food chain via a process called bioaccumulation. So, by the time you reach the top of the food chain, species such as whales, dolphins and sharks are left with astonishing levels of toxins in their bodies. 

After an hour spent picking up plastic and other litter from the beach, we assembled back at the Scottish Dolphin Centre to have a look at our rubbish collection. The total weight of all the rubbish was over 60kg, including a giant model Godzilla, numerous car tyres, lobster pots, reels of chicken wire, drainage piping and a soap dispenser. We volunteers felt very proud of our achievement.  Not just in terms of the debris we prevented entering the sea and harming all kinds of marine life, but also the positive community that was created as a result. Itís amazing what one group of like-minded individuals can achieve and just how far a bit of good intention can go.

Feeling inspired to join the clean-up movement? Have a go at organising your own beach clean. Around 95% of the plastic in the ocean comes from our towns and cities so even if you donít live near the coast, you can join in with an Urban Beach Clean and support WDCís #NotWhaleFood project.

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