brach_clean_quad_330In the space of three hours on a lovely Saturday morning Saturday 2nd April, 246 volunteers – members of Ayr, Alloway, Prestwick, Troon and Girvan Rotary Clubs helped by Cub and Scouts from St Columba’s Ayr, Guides from Prestwick, and Scouts from Troon and Girvan, and many members of the public – took part in Ninth Annual Rotary beach clean to remove a massive total of 624 bags of rubbish from 19 miles of South Ayrshire beaches along the Ayrshire Coastal Path. (www.ayrshirecoastalpath.org)

The Rotary clubs were delighted to have so many enthusiastibeach_clean2c young (and older) people taking part in this year’s Beach Clean

Troon Club cleared 90 bags from Barassie Beach, Prestwick uplifted 120 bags to the Pow Burn, Alloway removed 52 bags from Doonfoot to Craig Tara, and Girvan Club took 50 bags from the seafront. As well as cleaning-up the local Seafield foreshore, Ayr Rotary Club led squads of helpers down to the remote beautiful beaches of Bracken Bay, Dunure, North Croy, and Dipple Shore, and collected a huge total of 312 bags.

This year, we have noticed a huge reduction in the number of plastic shopping bags on the beaches – due to the effect of recent legislation – but the same can’t be said for plastic drinks bottles. In some areas, we were putting 20-30 small, large, and outsize soft drinks bottles into every red bag, which is unacceptable.

It is gratifying to know that over the last 10 years, on just one morning, the local Rotary Clubs have removed 7400 bags of rubbish from South Ayrshire beaches. But is also sad to reflect that every single plastic bag or bottle, broken toy, car tyre, discarded net or sweet-wrap, drum-full of fishing boat sump oil, fertiliser bag, builders’ polythene – was there as a result of a thoughtless act committed by some member of the general public.

Though this is a magnificent result, there is no room for complacency. Several miles of beautiful walking beach between Troon and Girvan have never been cleaned due to lack of numbers, and we desperately need even more keen fit volunteers willing to go that extra mile. Perhaps some of the many walkers and rambling groups who use and enjoy the Ayrshire Coastal Path might be keen to assist us next year.

We are all – both general public and politicians – the custodians of a uniquely beautiful Ayrshire coastline – and it is up to us all to take action ensure that it remains beautiful.

Meantime, on behalf of the five Rotary Clubs, Ayr Rotary Club would like to thank all volunteers who took part in litter-picking; and the farmers, caravan park, and NTS staff who transported the rubbish to collection points; and especially South Ayrshire Council, who provided bags and litter-picker tongs – and a most helpful staff who ensured the smooth and efficient collection and disposal of all the rubbish collected. A great all-round team effort.

Dr Jimmy Begg

Rotary Club of Ayr

Beach Clean Coordinator