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!

 

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)

Sunset Run on Peregian Beach >>>BALLOONS EVERYWHERE!

After a lovely run along the beach with my friend Pippa, we walked back picking up plastic. We found a mixture of things, but I could not believe how many balloons and parts of balloons there were!

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Balloon releases are still occurring despite the environmental impacts (recent news articles: BBC news, Independent news).

However there are alternative ways to celebrate, pay tribute or mark an occasion: Alternatives from the Marine Conservation Society

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