Marine Litter

Beach Litter by Mindi HillRubbish Pollution

Rubbish Pollution is a world wide issue which it is believed can be seen on pretty much any beach in the world, including beaches here in Cornwall.  Many of our local beaches are cleaned mechanically during the summer so it may not be so obvious but you only need to visit a beach in winter after a storm to realise the scale of the problem.

Plastic in our oceans and seas comes from both land and sea, often in the form of ‘single use’ plastics such as plastic bags, plastic wrapping, plastic bottles, disposable cutlery etc. as well as larger items such as plastic drums, fishing nets and gear, car parts…the list could go on and on.

Beach Clean Sucess by Mindi HillProblems with Rubbish Pollution in the Marine Environment

  • Marine mamals such as seals, dolphins, whales and porpoise often become entangled in discarded fishing net – both made of rope and monofilament
  • Plastics are often ingested by fish and mamals and sea birds which in some cases causes them to feel full and eventually starving to death
  • Vasts amounts of oil are used in the production of plastics that are used once and then discarded.  This increases CO2 emmissions which scientists believe contributes to the warming of our climate.  Climate warming contributes to warming seas which is believed to be a direct cause of ‘coral bleaching’ on coral reefs.
  • There are increasing concerns that chemicals from plastic in the oceans is being ingested by fish and therefore may be entering the food chain.

What can we do

  • Avoid using single use plastic such as plastic bags
  • Take your litter home with you – this applies on land and on the beach as rubbish from the land often makes its way into the oceans
  • Reuse, Reduce, Recycle!
  • Join in with local beach cleans – we do monthly beach cleans at Porthtowan – to find out more follow our page at www.facebook.com/porthtowancleanup
  • Consider your school, college, or workplace and make suggestions on how they can reduce the amount of plastic waste
  • Educate others – get others involved and make them aware of how they can help

Why

People often ask why it is important to do their bit.  We rely on our oceans and seas to produce oxygen, regulate our climate, provide us with food and for leisure activities.  If we continue to pollute them it will have effects on many aspects of human life as well as marine life.