BigScapaCleanup? What’s the big idea?
Here in Scapa we know we have some of the best wrecks in the world. And what’s more, they lie in some of the best waters in the world. We have a plan to keep the Flow in the same pristine condition that nature intended. In 2015 we teamed up with our Ghostfishing friends and had our first clear up. We successfully removed a significant amount of litter including rope, plastics, lost fishing gear and assorted rubbish. The week also highlighted a number of points. Firstly, there is still lots left to remove and secondly there is a big positive swell of people wanting to lend a hand. The team assembled at the end of the week and made a plan.
This year we will get together again with our Ghostfishing friends and assemble a team to run another week to remove more rubbish. We will also work from a list of the main areas where litter has collected so we can target our efforts better. The list will be made using the seacleanmachine App that enables divers to report litter by clicking on an interactive wreck map on the BigScapaCleanup website. Rubbish collected will be recorded and the totals can be tallied to get an idea of the scale of the problem.
The aim is simple and picking up litter is straightforward. Our strength, we hope, is to bring a community together to have a conversation, join forces to work together, create tools for solutions and then make a difference. With this team work we can all make the wrecks of Scapa important for the next 100 years too.
What will we clean up?
- Firstly, there are all the old shots, ropes and weights using by the divers in their exploration that for various reason have been cut or lost but yet remain as a hazard or unsightly mess.
- Secondly a rag tag collection of various types of fishing gear has been lost on the wreck and again forms a hazard or continues to Ghostfish.
- Lastly, there is an accumulation of unsightly litter that just should be removed.
How will we clean it up?
Who can get involved?
Why clear up Scapa Flow?
Is the wreck itself not litter?
Scapa Flow is home to seven of the most significant shipwrecks that lie on the seabed anywhere in the world. Four cruisers and 3 battleships mark the last ships remaining from the German High Seas Fleet of the first World War. Not only are they historically important but they also are visited by a large number of divers each summer, all keen to explore these big wrecks.There is no way to save these wrecks from the ravages of the sea, like all shipwrecks they must eventually rust away. But here at the BigScapaCleanup we believe we can respect them as they pass through their autumn years and create a collective memory so we can keep a record their place in history.
What's the science bit?
Over the years they have become a stable habitat and become colonised with a wealth of animals that couldn’t live there without the protection of the wreck. The BigScapaCleanup will be working closely with the scientists at Heriot Watt Orkney campus so record and measure the nature impacted by the wrecks, the litter and the clean up. Quantifying the problem is a new idea and here in Scapa Flow we hope to lead the way.