The UK’s largest marine plastic mural, made up of 13,000 pieces of plastic recovered from East Lothian beaches, is set to be unveiled in North Berwick.

The art piece will be located on an eight-metre stretch of the harbour wall near the Scottish Seabird Centre and will depict a beach scene and the Bass Rock, alongside an interpretation board that explains the artwork’s meaning.

The educational mural was designed by Julie Barnes, an artist from Aberlady, and has been created in connection with North Berwick Harbour Trust and local businesses Jerba Campervans and Caledonian Horticulture.

Julie said: “As a local artist who loves living in East Lothian, I care passionately about our beautiful environment.

“Each piece of plastic tells the story of today’s culture and its obsession with convenience, despite the shocking consequences.

“It feels amazing to have been chosen to create this educational artwork and I hope, like all my work, it will inspire viewers to stop, think and make a conscious effort to help preserve our planet.”

East Lothian Courier: Julie Barnes making the mural

Julie working on the mural 

An event to unveil the work takes place on Saturday between 1pm and 4pm, and will involve educational workshops from the Scottish Coastal Clean Up.

Attendees will also get the chance to meet the artist behind the project.

The mural has been made using about 13,000 bits of a 27,000-piece plastic collection that was gathered by East Lothian local Elizabeth Vischer from a 200m stretch of Longniddry Bents.

Simon Poole, co-founder of Jerba Campervans, who helped realise the project, was delighted to see the community come together to create a meaningful piece of art.

He said: “It’s fantastic to see the local community supporting this inspirational initiative.

“Not only does it send out a vital message about plastic waste in our seas but it also brings a new and vibrant piece of wonderful art to North Berwick Harbour.

“To see the project grow from an initial idea into a large-scale physical depiction of such an important issue in today’s society has just been incredible.”

The artwork will last for many years in the sea spray environment and its impact is hoped to be maximised as tourists flock to the hotspot.

The eight panels making up the mural have each been sponsored by a local business: Steampunk, Turnbulls Home Hardware, The Lobster Shack and Rocketeer, Meg Maitland, Peppermint Beach, charity Fidra and North Berwick Trust.

East Lothian Courier: The mural as show in the planning application

The mural as shown in the planning application

Kate Miller, head of communications and environmental projects at Caledonian Horticulture, hoped that the project would not only enliven the town’s already-vibrant harbour environment but also foster discussions about the reality of waste in the water.

She said: “When Simon from Jerba got in touch, after being inspired by another educational marine plastic mural and reading about our beach cleans, it was suggested we create something similar in East Lothian – it was an opportunity we couldn’t turn down!

“The mural seemed like the ideal use of the astonishing 27,000 pieces of plastic gathered off the East Lothian coastline and really drives home the issue of marine plastic.

“From a distance, the mural appears to depict a colourful beach scene but as you get closer and the details become clearer, you can make out the sheer scale of everyday items that have sadly ended up in our seas.

“We want the illustration to make people question how these items ended up in our seas and on our beaches, and think about what they can do to help stop that happening.”