A GARELOCHHEAD resident has made an impassioned plea for beach cleaning to be prioritised, claiming the village’s foreshore is “an affront to humanity”.

At the recent meeting of Garelochhead Community Council (GCC), Alistair McIntyre, who attended as a member of the public, called on members to make beach cleaning a semi-permanent item on the agenda.

Despite regular beach cleans throughout Argyll and Bute each year, Alistair told the meeting: “The state of the foreshore at Garelochhead is an affront to humanity. It’s an absolute disgrace. As a community, collectively, we should be hanging our heads in shame.

“Litter builds up quickly. I don’t know how the community puts up with it, to be quite honest, living in squalor. I would say it’s like a pigsty but that would be an insult to pigs.”

Councillor George Freeman, who stays in the village and has previously organised litter picks, said: “You’ve just got to look at the TV, the problem with waste is global.”

Mr McIntyre responded: “George is right, the problem is global, but the thing is, nevertheless, it’s right here on our doorstep. Nobody else is prepared to do much about it, so we’ve got to do our bit.”

Argyll and Bute Council supports volunteer beach-cleaning efforts by providing bags, gloves and litter pickers.

Meanwhile, national campaigns such as Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Upstream Battle have been launched to try to tackle the rubbish issue.

But Mr McIntyre believes communities and local authorities should strive to be more pro-active.

He said: “I really do take my hat off to all those dedicated individuals, groups and bodies that are wrestling with the problem, but there are limits to what they can achieve.

“My own perception is that many bodies with statutory roles of one sort or another, seem able to avoid taking much responsibility. As far as beach cleaning is concerned, my feeling is basically that such bodies don’t see this kind of issue as part of their core remit.

“Much of the undoubtedly good work that is being done, or being planned, is not really addressing the root cause of all the pollution of one form or another that is blighting our magnificent planet.”

A council spokesperson said: “We really appreciate members of the public doing their bit for the environment.

“As grateful as we are for the work done by the community, we share their frustration that more people aren’t inclined to keep beaches and beauty spots litter free.

“If bins at the beach are full, people should take their litter away. In no circumstances is it acceptable to leave rubbish behind.”