AFTER a miserable run of weather in the past few months, no one could be blamed for taking to the beach for a bonfire during a short window of warmth and sunshine at the tail end of last week.
But one Lerwick dog walker came across an unfortunate by-product – piles of rubbish strewn around the Sands of Sound on Saturday morning.
Ali Grundon said she had enjoyed seeing so many people out enjoying the beach on Friday night. But the following morning when she was walking the dog, she noticed a host of discarded pizza boxes, crisp packets, bottles and cans lying “much higher than the tideline, and surrounding extinguished bonfires”.
Shetland Amenity Trust (SAT), which runs anti-litter initiative Dunna Chuck Bruck, is calling on islanders to make sure they enjoy Shetland’s natural environment in a responsible manner.
Ali said: “Leaving the beach like this not only means that others cannot enjoy the beach safely … but it poses severe threats to our marine life, wildlife, kids, dogs and planet.”
Luckily the beach revellers had left carrier bags behind so she was able to clean up the rubbish and dispose of it.
“When I’m leaving any place of nature, I always try and leave it looking like I was never there,” she said. “Perhaps even take a carrier in your pocket and pick up bits of rubbish that have washed up on the beach. That’s the way it should be. Respect our island and our planet!”
SAT environmental improvement officer Sita Hughson said it was “great that Ali not only cleared up the remnants of other people’s beach party, she also took the time to post photos on Facebook and remind us all about the importance of enjoying the outdoors responsibly”.
Her post has been shared more than 200 times, which Sita said demonstrated how much support there is for leaving “only footprints” behind after a trip to the beach.
Sita said over 4,000 volunteers took part in Da Voar Redd Up, clearing local beaches of litter washed up during winter storms in time for the summer holidays and tourist season.
“The Redd Up makes an invaluable contribution to Shetland’s natural environment and wildlife so it’s a shame when people enjoying the beach leave harmful rubbish behind and spoil it for future beach-goers.
“Thankfully there are many people like Ali who appreciate and help to maintain Shetland’s varied and stunning coastline so that it can be enjoyed by others.”
In recent weeks anti-litter campaigners have been promoting the ‘Curse of Da Bruck Monster’ [see young fiddler of the year Bryden Priest falling victim to the curse below], a promotional film screening in Mareel, and Sita said that during that time they have been contacted by a number of people who have witnessed littering.
“We’ve been working closely with environmental health to trace litterers and have had some really successful outcomes,” she added. “We would also encourage anyone who witnesses littering to report it to environmental health on  745250. In the meantime we wish everyone a great summer – and Dunna Chuck Bruck!”
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