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Innovative project set to pinpoint coastline litter hotspots

Helen Houston, chair of the Moray Firth Partnership, volunteer pilots Dave Brown and Paul Horth, and Marie Stanton, Highland Park, launch the SCRAPbook coastal mapping in Orkney.

Orkney will be photographed from the air in a project that will help local communities tackle the global problem of coastal litter.

The Scottish Coastal Rubbish Aerial Photography (SCRAPbook) initiative will take to the skies over Orkney this month following the successful mapping of the Scottish mainland in 2018.

The innovative project highlights the scale of coastal pollution in a bid to tackle this critical environmental issue.

Funding from Orkney-based distillery, Highland Park will enable volunteer pilots in a light aircraft to capture extensive and detailed images of pollution around the islands’ coastline.

The images will then be classified by volunteer citizen scientists and put onto an online map identifying litter hotspots. This helps direct the community and volunteer efforts to take targeted clean up action.

Marie Stanton, distillery manager, Highland Park, said: “We are always looking to improve and enhance sustainability at Highland Park, so partnering with SCRAPbook feels like a natural fit and a great opportunity for us to continue to work with our local community to look after both the land we live and work on and the sea that surrounds us.”

As well as providing funding for SCRAPbook’s Orkney map, employees from Highland Park will be amongst the first to take part in a volunteer clean-up operation when the results are published later in the year.

Launched in 2018, SCRAPbook is a project led by two charities the Moray Firth Partnership and Sky Watch UK Civil Air Patrol.

Helen Houston, chair of the Moray Firth Partnership, said: “The aerial mapping allows us to identify locations that are a little out of the way, less explored and as a result can sometimes be the most polluted. This enables communities to see more of their homes and make a real difference.”

To support SCRAPbook and make a donation visit: www.scrapbook.org.uk/donation