where’s the rubbish?

You go for a walk and end up at the beach. It looks lovely. Perhaps like this one:

Nice, eh? Looks pretty pristine. This is Arthur’s Beach, my favourite place, and it is a veritable oceanside dumping ground. Bits of fishing nets, plastic bottles, nylon fishing line, bottle tops, balloons, polystyrene, heavy-duty plastic ties, nylon rope, they all end up here. It’s like the Atlantic chose this spot (among many) to throw back some of the crap we’ve dumped in her.

Arthur’s is a shallow beach, which means when the tide is high, it goes almost to the cliff. The high tide line is where a lot – but not all – of the stuff in the sea ends up. Including the seaweed. So the plastic and the seaweed get all mixed up at the back of the beach and, well, nobody wants to go poking around in that, right?

I took these photos just as the tide was receding. Cleaning up in here is a dirty, smelly job.                                         So, unless you’re there at high tide, or you’re looking for it, you could easily walk the length of the beach and, by averting your eyes just a little, not notice all this rubbish. (And if you did, you could tell yourself it’s not your problem and simply ignore it. After all, you’re here to have a nice time, not pick up other people’s garbage!)

As you can see from the photos, a lot of the beach is made up of pebbles, and they do a surprisingly good job of disguising what’s not mixed up with the seaweed. Here’s a picture of a spot where I sat down last week and picked up all the rubbish within my reach:

And here’s what I found:

Imagine this, repeated along the whole length of the beach. I came home with two bags of rubbish that day. From just part of the beach. If I go back to that same spot tomorrow, guaranteed I will fill up two more bags again. 

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