Anstruther exhibition reveals what ends up on the beach

Some of the images by Graham James for the exhibition It Ends Up On Our Beach.
Some of the images by Graham James for the exhibition It Ends Up On Our Beach.

An upcoming photographic exhibition at Dreel Halls, Anstruther, will show the grave reality of litter and its impact on the East Neuk’s shore.

During a 12-month period, Christine Keay, of the Anstruther Improvements Association (AIA), undertook the task of cleaning up her local beaches of rubbish and litter, saving a fraction of her haul to highlight the huge range of items that are left, or washed up, on Anstruther’s beaches.

Christine teamed up with local retired environmental scientists, Graham and Linda James, to discuss how best to show to the public what she had witnessed and collected over that year.

The resulting photographic exhibition, It Ends Up On Our Beach, will display 20 photographs taken by Graham (a keen hobby photographer), highlighting the scale of the problem of litter and plastic on our beaches and in the sea.

With the images split into the varying categories of waste found, alongside information supplied by Linda regarding the composition of the waste, whether it is recyclable, and potential future uses for such recycled materials, the eye-opening exhibition hopes to ignite people’s passion in the local and global environment, taking a look at what we can all do to limit the impact we have on our seas.

Christine said: “Over the years I have enjoyed collecting shells and seaglass from the beach; sadly what turns up nowadays is frequently rubbish which has been carelessly tossed over the sea wall, instead of being put in one of the many bins along Shore Street.

“Beer cans, plastic bottles, ‘disposable’ lighters, polystyrene food containers, fragments of balloons on long lengths of nylon ribbon, plastic fishing lures, nylon line with plastic beads attached and spiky lead weights with rusty hooks lost by anglers off the pier ... the list is endless and varied.

“Whenever possible I try to clear up as much as I can and bin it, but last year I decided to keep a representative sample of what I found over the course of one year, and that is what you see in Graham’s photographs. Remember this is only a small percentage of what I and others have taken off the beach. Quite apart from the devastating effect on seabirds and turtles etc, microscopic fragments of plastic are being consumed by the very fish we enjoy with our chips – think on, it should worry us all.”

Graham added: “In the past few weeks we have seen the EU moving towards banning single use plastics.

“It would be my hope that if we were to run this project and exhibition in 10 years time, much of what is featured now as beach pollution will no longer be in existence; and other components drastically reduced in amount, as ongoing public awareness and attitude makes littering an unacceptable practice.”

It Ends Up On Our Beach is co-hosted by the Anstruther Improvements Association (AIA) and Plastic Free Anstruther, with generous sponsorship from The Community Kist.

The exhibition will open on Friday, November 16, with an opening reception from 7pm to 9pm; and on Sunday, November 18, from noon to 5pm. Entry is free.

Anster Cinema will host a screening of environmental documentary The Clean Bin Project to coincide with the exhibition, on Sunday, November 18, at 6.45pm. Film tickets cost £3 or £2 for under 18s.

More details can be found at www.anstrutherimprovements.org and at www.facebook.com/DreelHalls