Mountain of rubbish cleared from Handa Island Wildlife Reserve

IT’S a rare beauty spot, worth the effort to get to. Most go to enjoy the wildlife and breath in the clear air.

But volunteers have had to clear a mountain of rubbish from Handa Island Wildlife Reserve in Sutherland.

Two boat loads of litter were taken off the island, enough to fill a large skip.Francesca Clair, Handa Ranger, Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “Sadly large amounts of plastic waste are washed up on beaches all over Scotland’s coastline and uninhabited islands like Handa aren’t immune.

“Hauling tonnes of litter isn’t one of the most glamorous jobs we have to do on the island so I’m very grateful to the volunteers who have helped us out this week, and to Andy Dinsdale who joined us to carry out methodical surveys of the rubbish that was collected.

“These surveys demonstrate the global scale of the problem as well as helping us learn a lot about the litter we find on the island.”

Volunteers collecting litter from Tarbet beach © Scottish Wildlife Trust

They said the volunteers spent most of their time cleaning the island’s southern beaches.

They also spent a day cleaning up the beach at Tarbet near Scourie, the departure point for the Handa ferry.

The large haul of waste they collected included ropes, buoys and plastic items that can be traced to countries including Canada, the United States of America, France, Ireland and Spain.

Handa Island Wildlife Reserve is owned by Scourie Estate and managed in partnership with the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

Litter is examined as part of a survey © Scottish Wildlife Trust (1)

During the summer the island is home to tens of thousands or seabirds including guillemots, razorbills and puffins, making it one of Europe’s most important seabird colonies.

A 6km circular path takes in the key points of interest around the island. The ferry to Handa Island Wildlife Reserve operates from March until early September.

Just remember to take your litter with you …

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Read: Handa Wildlife Reserve gets new rangers for six-months live in posting

IMAGE CREDITS: Scottish Wildlife Trust

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