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Cotton bud, bottle tops and nurdles - small mountain of waste washes up on beach

PUBLISHED: 07:44 19 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:31 21 October 2020

Part of the plastic haul collected from the beach between Eccles and Sea Palling by Sarah Lloyd. Ms Lloyd said these were pieces of plastic coating used on lobster pots. Picture: Sarah Lloyd

Part of the plastic haul collected from the beach between Eccles and Sea Palling by Sarah Lloyd. Ms Lloyd said these were pieces of plastic coating used on lobster pots. Picture: Sarah Lloyd

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A small mountain of plastic trash has been collected from a mile-long stretch of Norfolk beach over just two weeks.

Sarah Lloyd, who regularly picks up litter along the stretch of Norfolk beach near where she lives in Lessingham, with her dog, Tolly. Picture: Provided by Sarah LloydSarah Lloyd, who regularly picks up litter along the stretch of Norfolk beach near where she lives in Lessingham, with her dog, Tolly. Picture: Provided by Sarah Lloyd

Sarah Lloyd, who lives in Lessingham and regularly litter picks along the beach at Eccles and Sea Palling, said a large quantity of rubbish was ending up on the beach as offshore winds picked up as winter approaches.

Ms Lloyd said the rubbish she found included ropes, fishing tackle, bottle tops and plastic used in lobster pots.

She said: “As always, there were quite a few plastic straws and plastic sticks from cotton buds, although hopefully that will change in the future as a ban came into force on October 1.”

Ms Lloyd said she had also found thousands of tiny plastic beads.

The plastic haul collected from the beach between Eccles and Sea Palling by Sarah Lloyd. Picture: Sarah LloydThe plastic haul collected from the beach between Eccles and Sea Palling by Sarah Lloyd. Picture: Sarah Lloyd

She said: “There are three main sorts - nurdles, which are lentil shaped, around 1-2mm in diameter; water treatment beads, cylindrical, around 1-2mm in diameter, usually dark grey with ridged sides; and BB pellets from BB guns, which are round and 6mm diameter.

“All will break down into microplastics, and the nurdles are a particular problem as fish eat them thinking they are fish eggs.

“They fill the stomach and stop the fish from further feeding leading to their death.”

Plastic is transported in the form of nurdles for manufacturing. Ms Lloyd said she collected more than 40,000 of them in March this year, “mainly using a shovel and shrimp net, but hand picking them from among more stony areas of the tideline.

Plastic beads called Nurdles on the beach, part of the plastic haul collected from the beach between Eccles and Sea Palling by Sarah Lloyd. Picture: Sarah LloydPlastic beads called Nurdles on the beach, part of the plastic haul collected from the beach between Eccles and Sea Palling by Sarah Lloyd. Picture: Sarah Lloyd

“I suspect there was a spill of nurdles at sea.

“When nurdles are fresh they’re translucent, but they lose this with time, becoming first less translucent and then yellowish. In March the huge numbers washing upon the tideline were all very translucent.”

Ms Lloyd said she recorded every time she found nurdles on the beach, using a site called The Great Nurdle Hunt, which can be found at www.nurdlehunt.org.uk

Ms Lloyd said she wanted to see more types of plastics banned, including the plastic used in lobster pots.

She said we could all help the oceans by using less plastic.

Plastic waiting to be used in lobster pots in Wells. Sarah Lloyd is concerned much of it breaks off and ends up on our beaches, or poses a risk to marine wildlife. Image: Sarah LloydPlastic waiting to be used in lobster pots in Wells. Sarah Lloyd is concerned much of it breaks off and ends up on our beaches, or poses a risk to marine wildlife. Image: Sarah Lloyd

Ms Lloyd said: “Even if we stopped using any plastic tomorrow, it’ll still be washing up for years to come - although as it degrades down, it becomes smaller and smaller’ turning into microplastic.

Plastic beads called nurdles, part of the plastic haul collected from the beach between Eccles and Sea Palling by Sarah Lloyd. Picture: Sarah LloydPlastic beads called nurdles, part of the plastic haul collected from the beach between Eccles and Sea Palling by Sarah Lloyd. Picture: Sarah Lloyd

A lobster pot. Sarah Lloyd said whenever whole or part lobster pots washed up, they were always missing their plastic. Picture: Sarah LloydA lobster pot. Sarah Lloyd said whenever whole or part lobster pots washed up, they were always missing their plastic. Picture: Sarah Lloyd

Plastic straws and plastic sticks from cotton buds. part of the plastic haul collected from the beach between Eccles and Sea Palling by Sarah Lloyd. Picture: Sarah LloydPlastic straws and plastic sticks from cotton buds. part of the plastic haul collected from the beach between Eccles and Sea Palling by Sarah Lloyd. Picture: Sarah Lloyd

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