Cornwall beach receives plastics dumped by boats every day

Plastic waste washes up on a Cornish beach daily and locals believe most of it is washed up by ships.

Nets, containers, bottles, tires – peaceful Polurrian Beach on the Lizard Peninsula has seen it all.

Every day, locals pick up trash that washes up on their beloved beach in an effort to save the environment.

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Martin Greenhalgh, who has lived in Polurrian for three years, said locals continue to find gloves, barrels, containers, shoes, items you eat with and even freshly squeezed oranges.

“The problem is, it’s seven days a week, 365 days a year,” he said. “90% of it is marine litter. It’s all plastic. It breaks your heart.”

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Another resident, Rich Mulryne, organizes monthly beach cleanups as the community tries to pick up as much litter as possible. With the help of Polurrian Hotel and Celtic Clearance – a charity that recycles all collected rubbish – they have taken matters into their own hands.

Rich said: “With the monthly Friends of Polurrian clean-ups, there are a number of people picking up litter from the beach every day. In addition, the Polurrian hotel sends a member of staff at least twice a week to pick up litter and empty the bin.



Litter found on Polurrian Beach on the Lizard Peninsula

“There really isn’t much else we can do. There is trash in the sea and it’s washing up here and in all the coastal areas of the world. Until a comprehensive solution is found, agreed and implemented, all we can do is pick it up.

“We’re just one beach in the world where the community comes together to tidy it up. And there are millions of like-minded people doing the same thing around the world. Everyone knows there’s a huge problem and that change will come, it’s just if it will come with time.”

Polurrian and nearby Poldhu Beach tend to receive huge amounts of plastic waste from currents and shipping lanes, Martin said.



More trash found by locals on Polurrian beach
More trash found by locals on Polurrian beach

“There are tons and tons of weight,” he said. “I and others go down every day. You think you’re going to the beach to relax, but you can’t ignore it.

“I’m under no illusions that 90% of it gets thrown away.”

WWF has described abandoned nets as “the deadliest form of marine plastic debris”.

“Ghost gear can continue to catch target and non-target species indiscriminately for years, potentially decimating important food resources as well as endangered species, such as marine mammals, seabirds and turtles,” indicates a report.



Plastic waste found on Polurrian beach on the Lizard Peninsula
Residents continue to find containers, bottles, pallets, shoes, etc.

“This is the deadliest form of marine plastic debris that damages vital ocean habitats and poses hazards to shipping and livelihoods.”

Derek Thomas, MP for the area and co-chairman of the all-party caucus for Oceans Conservation, said he had previously contacted Cornwall Council to request that litter collected by volunteers be picked up. However, the council said that was not his responsibility.

“I have no evidence to suggest that fishermen deliberately throw objects into the sea, but when they go overboard for whatever reason, they invariably make their way to the beach or, even worse, trap marine life in the bottom of the ocean,” he said.

“The only way to solve this particular problem would be for the government to make it a legal responsibility of local authorities to collect waste that is collected in this way, which I am happy to insist if this is the appropriate course of action. “

The next beach cleanup at Polurrian will take place on Saturday, March 5 at 10:30 a.m.

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