Dusting off my soapbox and harping on about marine litter and plastic pollution is becoming an annual thing for me:
It's estimated that there are approximately 2000 pieces of marine litter for every kilometre of beach in the UK, and around 60% of that litter is plastic. That is a huge amount - just try taking a step along the high tide line of any beach and you'll be sure to find something that's not meant to be there. At any point along the strand line you'll be able to bend down, peer into the tangle of seaweed left by the receding tide and find a piece of plastic: an incriminating fingerprint of mankind's disregard for the natural environment.
Last Sunday a group of volunteers cleared around 40kg of small pieces of plastic waste from the strand line at Polzeath, as part of a series of 120 beach cleans organised by Surfers Against Sewage over the weekend that removed 25 tonnes of marine litter from beaches around the UK. But the amount collected from Polzeath isn't a one off, getting rid of the cumulated plastic waste trawled up and deposited at the top of the beach by the back to back storms this winter; after every storm a troop of dedicated local residents have been out removing whatever litter has been washed ashore. So far this year they've taken away 116 bin bags of waste and over 50 dead sea birds. It's a big, big, problem and with plastic persisting in the marine environment for hundreds if not thousands of years (plastic doesn't disappear, it just breaks down into smaller pieces), it's not one that's going to disappear any time soon
I hope that this puffin with it's beautiful, multicoloured, bill was a victim of the winter storms rather than marine pollution. Either way, however, it's not a pleasant thing to find on the sand.
If you take a step along the beach and do indeed find pieces of litter that aren't meant to be there, then perhaps it's time to take steps against marine plastic pollution. There are little things that we can all do such as picking up three pieces of litter or doing a two minute beach clean (check out #2minutebeachclean on if you're on instagram) each time we walk off the beach. Or better still, try to use less plastics so that we don't generate so much plastic waste as individuals. If we all do a little then hopefully, over time, we can achieve a lot.
Beach cleans at Polzeath, organised by the local Beachcare group, are scheduled for:
- April 26th @ 9.30am
- May 14th @ 9.30am
- June 20th @ 9.30am
- July 16th @ 9.30am
- August 22nd @ 9.30am
- September 20th @ 9.30am
- October 24th @ 9.30am
- November 19th @ 9.30am
- December 19th @ 9.30am
For further information please feel free to take a look at past An Tor Orth An Mor posts on this subject or click through the links to the various organisations that do so much to fight marine litter: