Evelyn and I joined a beach clean-up session in Weston Shore, Southampton today! The event was organised by Surfers against sewage, Solent University, Greenpeace and Friends of Weston shore. We had good weather and we discovered a part of Southampton we hadn’t seen before. I enjoyed being out with my friend and discussing pieces of plastic, our study plans and life in general. A nice morning spend outside (:
We joined a group of around 35 people ready to start cleaning this pebble beach. Most of the group walked way ahead of Ev and me. We figured that’s why we found only small pieces of debris. The small pieces are very important though, as those are swallowed by marine species, filling up their stomachs with non-digestibles. Funny enough, we found it quite difficult to distinguish between plastics and sea weeds – just like turtles cannot tell a plastic bag from a jellyfish.
Some examples: try to find the plastics in the photos below.
If you move your pointer over the pictures you can see the numbers 1 to 6.
- Just a piece of glass. Very well rounded, so no sharp edges. (Small) glass is actually a component of most sands. Since glass does not float, it will not be easily mistaken for food by sea mammals / turtles. And for humans? as Evelyn justly said: no one will be walking on this pebble beach barefoot anyway. Leave
- This is, most unexpectedly so, a seaweed! It is very fibred, so hard to distinguish from fishing lines. Leave
- This is a disintegrating tennis ball. No plastics (I guess) but the fibre and the rubber are both non-digestible. Clean
- No plastics in this photo. Just a piece of glass. See 1. Leave
- The purple thing is a seaweed! Macro-algae keep surprising me. Leave
- We found some popsicle/ earbud sticks like the blue and pink ones. Harder to find are the microplastics you see. We did not find any, other people found these. Microplastics are a curse for most sea creatures, because they are easily overseen and, when consumed in large quantities, fatal. Clean
I think I can speak for the both of us if I say we would definitely do this again. I also liked seeing parents taking their kids along. It makes a good treasure hunt; only a few hours and being outside is always good, isn’t it (: