The latest Big Rotary Beach Clean lived up to its name – the event was the largest of its kind ever, with over 300 volunteers tackling more than 15 miles of coastline and collecting the equivalent of 625 large bags of rubbish and other debris.

The event was coordinated by Ayr Rotary Club with support from the other clubs of Troon, Prestwick, Alloway and Girvan.

Ron Ireland, publicity convenor at Ayr Rotary Club, said it was “a magnificent turnout and performance”.

He added: “The mile-long beach at Curragh generated the largest collection because this had not been cleaned previously. However, all other beaches showed a reduction from previous years which suggests that the annual beach clean is making a big impression. Although it was not practical to separate plastic litter from other types of marine detritus, the proportion of plastic is very high, last year estimated at 93 per cent. Next year it is hoped that an attempt can be made to segregate the main waste material types as they are collected to allow more effective recycling.

“Although there is, year-on-year, less large material, a dozen or so drums of used engine sump oil dumped at sea were removed. A sizeable number of these have been recovered over the past 13 years between Girvan and Heads of Ayr, and these, unfortunately, may be being dumped by local boats. Old vehicle tyres are still regularly recovered, although again significantly fewer than before.

“Several environmentally-conscious farmers and landowners now help with tractors and trailers at this huge annual event. Their contribution is much valued because they convey the filled bags from the beaches to the collection points. South Ayrshire Council do a sterling job lifting them promptly in addition to providing all the bags and ancillary equipment.

“Local community groups, including Ayrshire Coastal Path volunteers, private companies, scouting troops, cub packs, college teams and many environmentally-conscious individuals all helped to produce another commendable result in enhancing our wonderfully scenic coastline. Everyone is urged to please keep our beaches clean. Not only will this make everyone’s visit to the beaches more pleasant, but it will mean an easier job for the volunteers at next year’s annual clean-up.”