Our efforts in Orkney

Funding from Highland Park single malt Scotch whisky, based in Orkney, allowed the SkyWatch pilots to fly and locate litter along the entire Orkney coastline during their 2019 survey.

The data collected from Orkney shows that while most of Orkney’s coastline is relatively clean, litter can be seen from the air at locations all around the coastline.

The most commonly found item of litter was miscellaneous plastic, with almost 60% of sites where litter was recorded containing plastic items. Other common litter types included pieces of wood, buoys, pipes and cables, metal, net, rope, creels and tyres. The litter recorded is likely to have come from both land and marine sources - either washed ashore or dumped from the coast. In addition, there are litter hotspots where large items such as abandoned cars, scrap metal, old boat parts and pipes pollute certain beach.

The data collected from Orkney illustrates that the issue of coastal litter is not restricted to the Scottish mainland and raises the question of how badly affected other islands off the coast of Scotland may be.


"The easier it is to find out where the litter is, the easier it is to mobilise clean-up efforts, and we've tried to focus on the less popular or harder to reach parts of the coastline.”

MFP Project Partner