Piles of litter on the Castle Sands area of St Andrews have led to a stream of complaints from local residents and environmentalists.
The beach area is believed to have been used in recent weeks for final-year students’ ducking celebrations, which involve flour, beans, glitter, eggs and alcohol.
Much of the debris has been left strewn on the beach and rocks, while litter has spilled on to neighbouring streets from overflowing bins.
Residents, visitors and the leader of the local Explorer Scout group have complained about the mess and Fife Coast and Countryside Trust has been prompted to write to St Andrews University calling for immediate action.
It resulted in senior vice-principal Lorna Milne issuing a message to students, which said: “Poor behaviour of this kind is completely unacceptable: it causes nuisance to the town and is extremely bad for the environment.”
The university’s estates team has posted a sign on the castle railings, warning that disciplinary action will be taken on those found responsible for littering.
Local councillor Brian Thomson (Lab) said: “The Castle Sands has long been a popular spot for beach parties, although the most recent mess is about as bad as I’ve seen.
“Whilst it would appear that this particular mess – and a smaller mess at the Bruce Embankment – has mainly been the result of some students’ end of semester celebrations, which is clearly unacceptable, it needs to be emphasised that those participating were only a tiny proportion of the students who study and live in the town. Also, the University’s swift response, of writing to all St Andrews students, carrying out a clean-up of the Castle Sands and the Bruce Embankment, and monitoring both areas for the remainder of the exam period, is to be commended.”
Local MP Stephen Gethins (SNP) believes that more must be done to protect St Andrews’ beaches from being spoiled by post-party littering.
He said: “Beach parties will result in waste being created, but people need to take this home with them or find a proper way of disposing of their rubbish. Everyone has to play their part in protecting our beaches and the environment of the town, but, unfortunately, things seem to be getting out of hand at the moment.”
Fife Council has praised those involved in the clean-up operation, the university, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust and the Clean & Green group.