Climate Change

Macro Plastics

Sail on Pelican for the Darwin200 UK Tour with Classic Sailing

Aoibhinn Lynch and Kerry MacKay’s Macro-plastic Survey

Aoibhinn Lynch and Kerry MacKay led a study to investigate the scale of macro plastic pollution in UK waters. ‘Marcoplastics’ are waste plastic items that pollute our environment. They may be defined as pollutant objects large enough to be visible to the naked eye (e.g. plastic bottles, plastic cups etc.).

Note: the size difference with ‘micro plastics’, which are microscopic plastic particles not visible to the human eye. 

Over 8 million tonnes of macro plastic pollution are believed to currently enters the world’s seas and oceans each year. 

Aoibhinn and Kerry used methodology in line with the Marine Conservation Society ‘beach watch surveys’. A one hundred metre stretch along each study beach was surveyed, and each item of litter recorded and then collected. This approach is intended to provide important data on macro plastic pollution concentrations as well as assisting with cleaning each study beach. 

Three surveys were undertaken on beaches across the west of Scotland, namely Kerrera Beach at Oban, Irishman’s Point, Skye and Luskentyre Beach on the Isle of Harris. 

During the team’s surveys, over 500 macro plastic items were identified. Among the most common objects observed were plastic bags, bottles, sweet wrappers, pieces of rope, netting as well as wet-wipes and drinks cans. Much of this waste results from members of the general public failing to dispose of waste responsibly. 

Over 90% of the waste found consisted of plastic objects. A clear trend was observed, revealing larger concentrations of waste further south and closer to urban centres. 

All of the waste items collected were responsibly disposed of.

See the Video Here

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Sail on Pelican for the Darwin200 UK Tour with Classic Sailing
Aoibhinn Lynch and Kerry MacKay

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