Two firsts for Today’s Catch!

In the FOUR, yes four years I have been cleaning beaches around the world and writing this blog I have not experienced these events before….

The first, first is a very good first….my first ever beach clean after 10pm! Luckily I live in Scotland and I can run along the beach late in the evening and it is still light!

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East Sands, St Andrews at sunset

My second first, unfortunately is a very bad first: My first ever Condom….urgh!

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Urgh! The first condom to ever be found on today’s Catch! 

Luckily I had already found a plastic bag so I could pick it up without touching it!

 

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On my very short beach run I also collected 4 pieces of plastic, a balloon and string and a Tesco’s plastic bag!

 

 

 

 

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A thank you from the North Sea

There was so much plastic on East Sands beach today I had to stop my run and collect it! Luckily the sea had washed up a large fishing tub that I could use.

 

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A tub full of plastic collected on just a small part of East Sands beach

 

When the rain started getting harder and the tub was almost too heavy to drag, I reached down to collect one last crisp packet….and underneath the bag was this:

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A sea glass bottle stopper! The first one I have ever found! I think it was the North Sea’s way of saying thank you!

 

Not such a ‘HAPPY MEAL’!!!

Selfish, selfish humans

Its been a while since I’ve posted on here; of cause I have been collecting rubbish every time I walk to the beach,but as I am in the middle of a masters degree, I have been very busy.

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Rubbish collected on East Sands beach a few weeks ago

 

Today, after a long day of analysing humpback whale song (and believe me it doesn’t always sound like it does on the relaxation CDs) I went for a long run. Living in St. Andrews is fantastic, not only does the beautiful town have everything you may need, but after a short 10 minute run and you can get to a beautiful deserted beach.

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Over looking St Andrews from the coastal path

It’s been a while since I ran the coast path as it has been so muddy recently, but after a few days of sunshine it was dry. When I arrived at the deserted beach, instead of the happiness I usually feel from seeing this lovely place, I was greeted with crisp packets, biscuit wrappers and fizzy drinks bottles! This is a beach 15min walk from the nearest road and people have the disrespect to leave their picnic wrappers like that!

 

Todays catch

In total there were:

5 crisp packets
Jammie dodgers packet
a packet from Tiramisu bars…all with individual wrappers!
Haribo marshmallows bag
A BARR bubblegum drinks bottle
A Rockstar energy drinks can
But luckily they had left their costcutter plastic bag for me to collect it all in!

This proves that a lot of our plastic waste is caused by junk food, there would not be a problem is they had left a apple core and a banana skin!

Sights like I saw today make me so disappointed in the human race, we live on such an amazing planet, we are so fortunate to be here, and we can’t even take a few measly crisp packets to the nearest bin!

 

Guest Entry: Petite Anse, Seychelles. Written by Jo Eames

I met Clare 3 years ago; we were working together on a Humpback whale survey project off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Living across the globe from each other, but both working in the marine environment field, we have remained friends. I have been following her blog of beach cleans and now as I work on the beach I decided it was time to write a guest entry.

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I moved to the Seychelles in March this year and joined the WiseOceans team as a Marine Educator at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles. Seychelles is a collection of granitic and coralline islands in the Indian Ocean just below the equator. In fact 99.9% of the exclusive economic zone of the Seychelles is water. The largest island, and the one on which I am located, is Mahe; with a surface area of 150km² and home to only 90,000 people. Petite Anse is located in south-west Mahe, and although it is mostly occupied by resort guests, as with all beaches in Seychelles it remains public. The beach is approximately 400m in length, not particularly wide and backed by shrubs and trees.

When the winds blow from the south-east this bay is sheltered, calm and idyllic. The white sand looks untouched, with little to no seaweed, shells or corals. During the north-west season, which is now upon us, we see some changes occur on the beach. One of the most noticeable is the large amount of rubbish washing up amongst the seaweed.

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In our role as WiseOceans Marine Educators, myself and colleague Charlotte conduct a daily beach walk – a great way to start the day! We are on the lookout for any variations to the beach or signs of nesting turtles, and of course we always take a bag and pick up any litter we find. During the south-east season our haul is minimal, maybe a few bottle tops and cigarette butts. But with the change in winds our daily treasure hunts have increased in scale, with some days filling 5 bags with washed up litter! Items have included but not limited to:image005

  • Flip-flops
  • Micro plastics
  • Polystyrene
  • Cigarette butts
  • Plastic drink bottles
  • Drink cans
  • Scraps of fabric
  • Glass bottles
  • Light bulbs
  • Plastic toys – my favourite being the army of soldiers

 

Examining the items that are washed up we could conclude the majority of it is thrown overboard or lost from leisure boats. Arriving directly from the open ocean, some items have been floating around for a considerable time and come ashore covered in barnacles, crabs and algae.

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Keeping our beach clean is a team effort and luckily we are supported by the resort staff who all lend a helping hand. For those new to the beach witnessing this change has been an eye opener to the issues of marine litter. I think they are especially surprised at the time it takes for some items to biodegrade and the sheer quantity of it (up to 20 single flip-flops in one trip). It’s also interesting for them to see us scrambling in the sand to collect all the micro plastics, as even the smallest pieces can have a negative impact on marine wildlife.

Last Today’s Catch in New Zealand: 4th November Kiritehere Beach

After working on the BRAHSS (behavioural response of Australian whales to seismic surveys) project in Queensland Australia, I travelled back to New Zealand for 10 days to say a few goodbyes before moving back to England.
Whilst in NZ there were a few things I wanted to do, amongst these, go to Kawhia and dig a natural hot pool on the beach and see a kiwi. Given my time restraints I didn’t fancy becoming nocturnal to try and see one the wild, so I accepted I would have to see one in captivity.

Trying to find natural hot springs on Kawhia beach.

Trying to find natural hot springs on Kawhia beach.

After visiting Kawhia but not succeeding to find hot pools and going to Otorohanga kiwi house (Kiwis are awesome birds: basically just a huge furry bum with a long pointy beak!) we travelled to the small seaside town of Marokopa. It was a beautiful town next to a river with a wild black sand beach. We stayed at the Marokopa campsite in a retro caravan for 2 nights; It was a lovely clean place with amazing water tank toilets!

The next morning we travelled 5km South to Kiritehere beach, to see if we could find any waves. We walked along the beach to see if the point was working and I could not believe that there was so much plastic all along the beach.

A plastic bottle on Kiritehere beach with the point break in background.

A plastic bottle on Kiritehere beach with the point break in background.

We soon realised there was no surf, so we set out to do a Today’s Catch. After walking only 20m we had filled our bucket, but this didn’t deter us, we just piled it all up and hoped we would be able to carry it all back.

Collecting plastic on Kiritehere Beach.

Collecting plastic on Kiritehere Beach.

Our collection of plastic, including a large plastic oil drum!

Our collection of plastic, including a large plastic oil drum!

After hours and hundreds of pieces of plastic, despite there being loads still on the beach, we had collected all that we could carry so we missioned it back to the car to sort it.

Sorting the plastic on the grass by the Kiritehere stream

Sorting the plastic on the grass by the Kiritehere stream

Here is a sample of what we found:

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I have found shotgun shell wadding on almost all of my NZ beach cleans, this beach was by far the most I have collected on one beach.

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Shot gun shell wadding & cases found on Kiritehere Beach

Micro plastics (NOAA definition plastics under 5mm, however on this beach clean I used all plastics <10mm) are present on most beaches around the world, I have certainly found them on all beach cleans I have done. Probably the most common microplastic is the nurdle or plastic pellet are regularly confused as fish eggs by birds and fish, so they are consumed, which fills up stomachs so the organism usually dies of starvation. I always try to collect as many micro plastics as I can, however this is very time consuming. This beach I particular had a lot of microplastics, probably the most I have seen on one beach!

Microplastics and Nurdles found on Kiritehere Beach

Microplastics and Nurdles found on Kiritehere Beach

Kiritehere Beach was deserted with only about 10 houses surrounding it, therefore it is likely that the majority of this plastic had washed up. When I see beaches like this it really draws home the marine debris problem in our world and demonstrates the vast amounts of plastic in our oceans. I know this Today’s Catch made a difference to this beach, but it is very hard to walk away from a beach still covered in plastic, I just hope someone can go back and clean it again!

There was however one piece of plastic I didn’t try to remove:

Plastic tag still attached to a sheep a carcass.

Plastic tag still attached to a sheep a carcass.

Along with everything photographed on this page we also collected:

27 pieces of polystyrene

2 balloons

2 clothes pegs (which I took home to put on my washing line!)

1 Hair curler

2 parts of a syringes

1 Bic lighter

1 Body board leash

1 Lego piece

12 clear pieces of plastic

259 Pieces of miscellaneous plastic including:

183 small pieces of plastic (10mm-50mm)
42 medium pieces of plastic (50mm-200mm)
19 large pieces of plastic (200mm-500mm)

Ngarunui Beach

This clean was a couple of weeks ago, on a stormy Wednesday evening after work. Unfortunately it was getting dark, which hindered my collection but it is always good to collect what you see anyway!

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The majority of the plastic I found was parts of fishing rope!

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Clear plastic sports cap lids are a common find and a pretty useless item!

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Another very common item, I find these on most of my cleans at Ngarunui Beach

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2 pieces of pallet ties, yet another common item.

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Just 1 nurdle found, which is positive as I have found dozens in previous cleans. The problem with the nurdles is the likeness to fish eggs and so they often get eaten!

I also found a piece of blue plastic shaving, these were common finds at whale bay cleans. Take a look at my post from 2nd November 2012 which explains the origin of these!

17th June – Ngarunui beach

Just a short stroll along the beach on a grey day, as I had nothing better to do and needed some fresh air!
It was only a 30min walk from the Lifeguard Hut to the Bush Reserve track but with 3 sets of hands we ended up with a lot of rubbish!

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9th May 2014 – Ngarunui Beach, Raglan.

 

After a lovely long run across the fields and forest that surrounds the beach I walked back along the strandline to see what plastic and other rubbish I could find. It was a beautiful warm autumn day and the tide was mid-rising! It is about 3kms along the beach and took me about 40mins.

This is what I found:

20140510-120849.jpgIncluding:
7 plastic lid rings,
7 sports cap covers
Coke can, schwepps lid,
kiwi blue, VB bottle top
and a straw!

 

 

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Also found:

11 pieces of Pallet ties
7 Fishing floats
6 pieces Cellophane type plastic
5 Candy wrappers

9 pieces of large miscellaneous plastic
2 large plastic lids
Sunscreen lid
Plastic leaf toy
Bucket handle
Large Piece of polystyrene

 

TOTAL = 196 pieces of plastic!

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