Litter poses a growing threat to the marine and coastal environment and comes from many sources. Even beaches that are isolated from direct inputs can be affected due to the influence of prevailing winds and currents. The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) organises national beach litter surveys that provide information on the amount of litter deposited on the countries coastline.
The beach in Village Bay is cleaned most years following MCS guidelines in order to clear the beach of rubbish and to provide data that can be used to monitor the state of the marine environment. Village Bay provides an important point in the national survey as it is the beach least likely to accumulate waste from land based sources and should be largely oceanic waste.
This year, volunteers from Work Party 2 helped with the annual beach clean and I am massively grateful for their enthusiastic assistance as it would be virtually impossible for me to complete this task alone.
Retrieving some pieces of litter became a battle as they were tightly wedged under rocks. The look of triumph when an item was successfully retrieved was definitely worthy of a picture.
Some particularly long pieces of rope were entwined amongst the rocks. Once we named the rope it was time for battle to commence – Trevor (the rope) vs Nick (Work Party member). Of course, Nick was the victor!
In another amazing show of sheer determination and strength this enormous piece of rope weighing 20kg was removed from the beach. Three against one, the rope didn’t stand a chance! (and I declared his piece of litter separately as it may skew the data)
A total of 920 items (82kg) were removed from the beach in Village Bay, this is less than last year when 1168 items (98kg) were found.
Five foreign objects were found, including this Danish bottle of Faxe Kondi and a tub of chewing gum that was made in China:
Almost half (49%) of all the items collected were made of plastic. This is of particular concern because plastic may never completely disappear from the environment and could persist for many hundreds if not thousands of years. Larger items will eventually break down into small plastic particles and microscopic dust that pose a threat as they can be consumed by many species of wildlife. I intend on writing another entry about plastic and fulmars so keep an eye on the diary.
ps: sorry to WP2 for taking so long to post this!