My week in politics

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My week in politics took place in the Members Lobby of the Scottish parliament, where I installed my #CleanBeachesScotland exhibition which drew  the First Minister, MSPs and  parliamentary staff  in to take a close look at the series of  installations summarising my findings of both macro & micro plastics  found on 120 beaches over the last two years.

The exhibition comprised of a stand of  vials of sand samples from around Scotland, a lightbox/petra dish particle display, a melted plastic ‘BOTTLE’ and a group of #LitterCUBES. All of which formed part of  my recent exhibition NEO Terra.

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The installations provided strong visual points for my colleague Sita Goudie (Environmental Officer from the Shetland Amenity Trust ) and I to draw people in to  discuss the volume of plastic pollution on Scottish beaches its sources, prevalence of micro plastics  in beaches , the common dangerous actions of people burning plastic on beaches.

Throughout the exhibition Sita I  handed out a summary of  EVIDENCE collected from 120 beaches in SCOTLAND  [60 NW Highland  and 60 Shetland beaches 2016-17] :

  • Every Beach had some form of Plastic Pollution visible
  • Plastic particles were found in sand samples from 85 of 120 beaches
  • Burning plastic on beaches is common practice – melted plastic recovered from 47% of beaches sampled.
  • Annual beach cleans collect an average of 150-350 kg of rubbish per 100m
  • 90% of litter  on Northern Scotland’s beaches comes from commercial fishing and aquaculture

In response over  30 MSPs responded to the exhibition/evidence and completed PLEDGE cards  stating that they acknowledged the scale of the problem and  selected a series of  actions they are prepared to take – which we will be putting on-line in the New Year.

PLEDGE CARD #CleanBeachesScotland

A big highlight of the week was the #CleanBeachesScotland event hosted by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and the Littoral Art Project – the event took place in the  David Livingston Room where the exhibition was relocated for the evening and joined by displays and members from MCS , Dunna Chuck Bruck – Shetland Amenity Trust ( SAT), SAMS – Scottish Association for Marine Science, FIDRA – Environmental Charity based in East Lothian, KIMO – Local Authorities International Environmental Organisation.

Over 50 invited people attended – including over 15 organisations plus researchers, harbour masters, activists and apparently a record 9 MSP’s . Joan McAlpine MSP  opened the event which celebrated and confirmed a determined a wide commitment to bring about #CleanBeachesScotland.


Many thanks to all who attended and helped to make this event happen, particularly to Joan McAlpine for sponsoring the exhibition, to Sita Goudie for working every day and evening engaging MSPs in the lobby and on Twitter, Catherine Gemmel and Calum Duncan of Marine Conservation Society and John McPherson use of his great photograph of Nairn beach. I look forward to working with you all again.





Follow #CleanBeachesScotland

In a week when I take my Littoral Art Project to the Scottish Parliament  to hopefully draw MSP’s attention to what’s happening along  their own constituency  shoreline; Blue Planet II concludes & David Attenborough gives us a sobering reminder of how plastic pollution, overfishing and climate change is causing untold damage to ocean habitats; the UN’s One Planet Summit brings together local & national leaders to discuss how they can support efforts to fight climate change.
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Turtle washed up on South Queensferry shoreline , Firth of Forth , 2017
The UN Environment Programme warns that :  Unless we take action our oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050 
The evidence I have collected from over  120  Scottish beaches is equally  shocking and demands actions to stop plastic  entering the sea at this exponential rate. 
 Learn more this week  by following  @LittoralArt twitter feed  #CleanBeachesScotland  #OnePlanet #BluePlanet2 re-tweet and comment on the exhibition – add your own visual evidence Tweet @LittoralArt @ScotParl.    Add a comment on the importance of art as a way of engaging people with the issue.

The #CleanBeachesScotland exhibition of beach samples and artworks made from plastic litter collected from the NW Highlands and Shetland  will be on display for MSPs to see  in the Members Lobby 12th-14th Dec.  The exhibition has been sponsored by Joan McAlpine  MSP . Please tweet  your MSP’s encouraging them to visit  the exhibition /attend the event on Wednesday 13th and ask them to make/tweet a pledge to support  actions to stop plastic entering the sea .

Unfortunately this exhibition  isn’t open to the public – but do get in touch if you know a gallery/venue that would host the show so more people can view the work

Over 50 guests will also see the exhibition and be able to examine samples at the accompanying  #CleanBeachesScotland event  on the 13th Dec.  The event  co-hosted with the Marine Conservation Society will  bring together a host of brilliant people working along the Scottish shores all working on the frontline of  marine plastic pollution an all determined to work together to stop plastic leaking into the sea.

2a53e3ba-ca13-4860-996e-61755b6ecb7b                   I remain optimistic after Mr Attenborough says “Never before have we been so aware of what we are doing to our planet – and never before have we had such power to do something about it,”

Please support Littoral Art project. I have no funding in place to continue this project in 2018 .  The Island Charts (below)  produced as part of the NEO Terra exhibition which map out the Blue Planet message and chart changes  that can reduce plastic leaking into the environment are on sale now.

The Island Charts come in 2 sizes  large Prints 60 x 60cm:£80 ( the pair) plus £5 postage & package. Small prints 30 x 30 : £40 (the pair) £3 P & P,  printed on  smooth heavy 300 gsm matt paper. Place your orders  by email



Any small donation to towards future work would be really helpful and gratefully received and keep the momentum for #BeatPollution  #CleanBeachesScotland . Please use the donation button on the left hand side.  Thank You!

The development of the Littoral Art Project was supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund.

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