Beach Clean Diary
Spring’s Abbie Baynes joined Hydro Flask charity – Surfers Against Sewage – on their latest Spring Beach Clean. Read her story of nature, nurdles and nudism below…
“After a 6:30 am set off, we headed down to the coast. The weather, initially forecasted to be dark and windy, was glorious and sunny and the waves glistened as they danced onto the shore.
“Perranporth beach looked spotless to the untrained eye, but we later learned that the strong coastal winds drag any litter three miles to the opposite end of the beach, dumping it against the rocky cliff edge. Access is limited to this part of the beach, with only those willing to walk the distance visiting. We also learned that this end of the beach was a nudist paradise. We could be in for quite a treat!
“The grunt of a Land Rover, clearly beginning to admit defeat to the elements, rumbled in the distance, pulling up beside us. We hopped in the back and with a jolt of the engine we headed down to the far end of the beach to uncover what plastic treasures had been washed up.
“I gasped upon arrival; ghost fishing nets, food packaging and even a two-metre-long tube lay discarded on the beach. But this wasn’t the worst of it, I was warned. The Surfers Against Sewage team told me the tale of the nurdle – trillions of these tiny plastic pellets wash up on beaches all over the world. Mistaken for food by sea creatures; nurdles are perhaps one of the biggest dangers to our ecosystem ultimately ending up in the digestive system of humans where the outcome is unknown.
“Armed with nothing but a sieve and my bare hands, I knelt on the wet sand of the shoreline and began scooping the beach into my sieve uncovering tens of nurdles with each handful. It was easy to see why these were such a danger but daunting to know that there would likely never be a day where these plastic pellets would be absent from our beaches.
“An hour and hundreds – perhaps thousands – of nurdles later, we climbed back into the Land Rover and drove to collect the giant tube. Cautiously, we walked over to it, speculating what we may find inside.
“‘A mermaid’, one of the younger children called out. This was a far cry from what I’d expected to find, but it got our minds racing. ‘A dead seagull!’ shouted another. This was more like it, I thought, as I shuffled closer.
“Thankfully, there was nothing deceased inside the tube, but it didn’t smell that way. Gloopy, thick, stagnant water swished inside the crevices and we jumped back, hoping to avoid the stench. But we had to do what was right. We knew we had to. Thankfully the tube was light and we carried it back over to the truck, loading it into the back seats. The engine fired up, and we were on our way back down the beach. People were staring, but we didn’t care.
“We had a fantastic day in Perranporth at the Big Spring Beach Clean and, whilst every beach has its fair share of litter, it was great to understand more about the problems that Perranporth beach encounters.
“Notably; nurdles and the strong winds that drag any plastic pollution three miles to the opposite end of the beach (which is inaccessible except by foot) are major problems. But it was heartening to know that the two-metre-long plastic pipe has now been upcycled into bollards for the car park in a local garden centre.”