Local environmentalists have spoken out ahead of another expected busy summer on Tayside’s beaches.
Plastic bags, bottles and disposable barbecues are just some of the common items found abandoned on the waterfront throughout the year.
As the summer days draw nearer and people’s thoughts linger on spending sunny spells on the beach, campaigners have asked visitors to be more mindful of the mess left behind.
Synthetic items can take several hundred years to degrade – if they are not eaten by marine animals first.
Andrew Llanwarne, co-ordinator of Friends of the Earth Tayside, said: “There is a lot of publicity about the poor condition of beaches.
“Some of the problem lies with people not taking the issue seriously and there needs to be an improvement in attitudes.
“People are not being responsible and aren’t being considerate of other people and marine life.”
Dr Chiara Guilia Bertulli, a sightings officer at Sea Watch, warned plastic in our waters has deadly consequences for the marine population.
She said: “The problem of plastic and plastic bags entering our oceans is that marine animals eat them.
“Marine species mistake the bags for food and the plastic will block their breathing passage, causing them to suffocate.
“It can also cause the animal to think they are fuller than they are due to it blocking their digestive tracts.
“This will cause them to stop hunting and starve themselves to death.
“One solution to reduce the risk to the lives of marine animals is to spend time raising social awareness. We also need to educate the public more.
“This will bring practical solutions to the forefront. The public can help in everyday situations by doing things like using reusable bags, replacing plastic containers with glass ones and recycling as much as possible.”
Following a recent litter pick at Broughty Ferry beach, objects such as fishing nets, a glass crystal and even a fire extinguisher were found abandoned by participants, including Ferry Liberal Democrat councillor Craig Duncan.
He said: “People at Broughty Ferry beach on hot days last year were leaving their rubbish.
“People come to nice places like this beach and can be bothered to take heavy fuel tanks and barbecues – but they aren’t willing to put their small plastic bottles in the bins.
“It’s disappointing when a handful of visitors do not take their rubbish away.
“The council has to be pro-active and add more bins for visitors to put their rubbish in as well as emptying them regularly.
“The council can give penalty notices to the few persistent people who continue not to take their rubbish away.”
Dundee City Council’s neighbourhood services convener Kevin Cordell said: “The better weather seems to bring out the worst in some folk but I would ask that everyone respects the wonderful beach we have and other beach users.
“We will be supplying extra waste disposal provision over the summer months so there really is no excuse for not disposing of your rubbish responsibly.
“I ask people to take pride in their city and put litter in the bin or take it home with them.”