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Youngsters use lockdown to save the seas

By Kirsty Brown

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Lockdown hasn't stopped the efforts of East Grampian Coastal Partnership in cleaning up the coastlines of the north-east.

While government guidelines forced the non-profit organisation to cancel all of the planned beach cleans, events and school visits for their ongoing Turning The Plastic Tide project, project officer Crawford Paris worked out how to bring their message into people's homes.

He was able to adapt educational activities into a 12 week programme of things to do at home called #MarineLitterLearners, with the programme split evenly into three themes - story writing, arts and crafts and posters and poems.

To bring some fun to lockdown ECGP also offered a small competitive element to the programme, but the main aim of the resources is to get young people - and not so young people - thinking about the impact they can have on the environment.

Speaking to the Advertiser, Crawford said: "This keeps us going, it keeps the kids at home going and it's another activity option for parents.

"It is really uplifting to see people getting involved, and in the past couple of weeks it has really started to gather momentum in Aberdeenshire.

"We have seen over 100 entries so far!"

The resources for #MarineLitterLearners are completely free and available to all, and can be found alongside more information about the work of ECGP at: www.egcp.scot

Turning The Plastic Tide is a project of two parts - firstly it aims to educate pupils in schools across Grampian (not only those living in coastal communities) about how much of their litter ends up in the sea and the impact this has on the wildlife and the environment, and secondly Turning The Plastic Tide has been working hard since it's inception to physically clear the beaches of the north-east of litter.

To help with this and ensure that all ages can be involved, ECGP organise various events including beach cleans for communities, organisations and corporations and these beach cleans have seen them remove tonnes of litter washed up on Grampian's shores.

Unfortunately these beach cleans had to come to a halt as it became unsafe for people to gather, but ECGP is heartened to hear of locals and families who have continued to carry out small regular cleans in their local area while out for their permitted exercise.

It was disheartening for the organisation to see many coastal spaces awash with litter following the first weekend of eased restrictions, however they acknowledge that this is the result of the actions of the minority and not the many.

Unsure when they will be able to host organised beach cleans again, the group hope that they may soon be able to organise for volunteers to borrow their equipment so that they can carry out small scale beach cleans in their local area to continue making an impact in the interim.

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