The most common items were plastic bottles and food packaging, either washed up or left behind. Some of the other items collected included tennis balls, lobster pots, fishing gear, a frisbee, a tyre, trawler boat matting, and a wheelie bin.
These objects pose many threats to wildlife. Many of them are plastic, which never bio-degrades, it only breaks into smaller and smaller pieces and has been found inside filter feeding marine animals and amongst natural sand particles on our beaches. Animals both living in the marine environment and those who feed upon it, such as seabirds, can become entangled in discarded fishing equipment. Plastic litter can often be ingested by animals mistaking it for food, which fills up their stomachs and leads to starvation – over 90% of Fulmars found dead around the North Sea contain plastic in their stomachs (Marine Conservation Society).
This was just one of the sites we removed rubbish from, just beneath cliffs where Fulmars often gather and breed.
You can help by taking your rubbish home with you when you are out and about on the Reserve. You can also come along to one of our litter picks in the New Year. Keep an eye on the blog for more details.