Windy day at the beach

Umbrella washed up with seaweed as flotsam on the beach

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Flotsam Shoes at Chapmans Pool

It’s that time again – for the Great Dorset Beach Clean. Sunday 16th September 2012 will see dozens of volunteers descending on some of our most beautiful Jurassic Coast beaches to clear away the huge volumes of flotsam that has accumulated over the summer months – most of it plastic but also fishing nets and ropes and SHOES!

Here are some photographs of trainers, flip flops, and sandals that I found on the beach at Chapmans Pool last weekend. It always makes me wonder how the owners walked home after losing their shoes – no mean feat (or should I say ‘feet’) to climb up the hill again barefoot after the trip to the beach!

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Seven pink somethings from the seashore

Seven pink somethings from the seashore – pink seashells, pink sandal, pink seaweed, pink ‘salute’, pink stone, pink sea thrift, and pink sand.

 

Revision of a post previously published 23 May 2010

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Up-date on the multi-coloured rock pool at Rhossili

Rock pool recovering from plastic pollution in October 2009. The water is fairly clear. (1) 

Previously I have talked about a small rock pool at Rhossili that had filled up  with  multi-coloured pieces of plastic probably arriving at this one small area of the beach from hundreds, even thousands, of miles away. Bright coloured fragments and pellets of plastic were also observable in the regurgitated remains spewed up by seabirds on the beach. That was back in the summer 2009. I have been keeping an eye on the pool to see what its fate might be.

Rock pool recovering from plastic pollution in October 2009 (2) 

By October 2009, high tides seemed to have mostly cleaned out the pool and it looked on the road to recovery.

The rock pool filled again with plant remains and plastic by winter seas. January 2010 (3) 

By January 2010 the pool was contaminated again. However, a large proportion of the rubbish in the pool this time was organic. Vegetable remains included straw-like terrestrial plant stems, broken fronds of brown seaweeds, and the large air bladders of Egg Wrack.

For earlier postings related to the plastic pollution in this pool, click here Multi-coloured Rock Pool at Rhossili and More about the multi-coloured rock pool at Rhossili.

Plant remains and plastic rubbish trapped again in the pool over winter. 1 January 2010 (4) 

Plant and plastic rubbish trapped again in a high rock pool over winter. 1 January 2010 (5) 

Revision of a post first published 19 January 2010

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More about the multi-coloured rock pool at Rhossili

Flotsam-filled rock pool on the seashore at Spaniard Rocks, Rhossili Bay, Gower, UK on 03.08.2009 (1) 

Not so pretty now! Earlier I wrote about a multi-coloured rock pool at Rhossili that I had photographed on 26th June 2009. The pool was full of small pieces of brightly coloured plastic and other rubbish. This was highly unusual for this otherwise outstanding and beautiful location. A great deal of flotsam does accumulate on the sand here but I had never observed it migrating to the rock pools before. I commented that, despite its detrimental effect on the environment, it was visually quite attractive.

Several weeks later, on 6th August 2009, I noticed that regurgitated seabird pellets on the sand (near to the outcrop of rocks with the rubbish-filled pool) contained not only mussel shells from the rocks but also small pieces of coloured plastic (see Gulls’ gobbets on Rhossili seashore).

At the same time, the pretty pool was no longer pretty. More rubbish had accumulated and the water itself was stained deep red. The photographs in today’s blog show what it looked like then.

I will be visiting the place again soon. I hope that high tides and stormy seas will have scoured the pool clean. The rubbish, however, will be a continuing problem which washes ashore from hundreds of miles away.

I often see dead and decomposing seabirds on the shore. Most seem to have broken their neck while diving. From now on, I will look to see if the stomach contents remain in situ to determine the extent to which plastic rubbish is being ingested by the birds.

If you would like to read more about the way plastic rubbish is contaminating the environment and entering the food chain, have a look at Pharyngula

Flotsam-filled rock pool on the seashore at Spaniard Rocks, Rhossili Bay, Gower, UK on 03.08.2009 (2) 

Flotsam-filled rock pool on the seashore at Spaniard Rocks, Rhossili Bay, Gower, UK on 03.08.2009 (3)

Flotsam-filled rock pool on the seashore at Spaniard Rocks, Rhossili Bay, Gower, UK on 03.08.2009 (4)  

Revision of a post first published 20 October 2009

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Multi-coloured rock pool at Rhossili

Thousands of small multi-coloured pieces of flotsam plastic floating in a rock pool at Spaniard Rocks, Rhossili Bay, Gower, South Wales, UK (1) 

Thousands of small multi-coloured pieces of plastic flotsam floating in a rock pool at Spaniard Rocks, Rhossili Bay, Gower, South Wales. Even in the most beautiful of places, flotsam - particularly plastics - can be a problem. At Rhossili Bay, it is said that most of the plastic rubbish comes from as far away as South America as there is nothing but open water between these two places. Very little plastic rubbish is thought to have been generated by local visitors.

By some quirk of fate, small pieces of plastic seem to end up en masse at the extreme north end of the beach.  The way that  they have accumulated in small rock pools on Spaniard Rocks can be seen in these photographs.  However, even though this rubbish shouldn’t be here and it may affect the environment in a detrimental way, potentially damaging habitats for the native seashore animals and plants, there is still a beauty to be found in the juxtaposition of these brightly coloured pieces of floating flotsam against the pale neutral of the Carboniferous limestone; in much the same way that the bright splashes of orange-coloured lichen and yellow-flowered rock plants enliven the stone.

There is a related post to this article. See also Gulls’ gobbets on Rhossili seashore.

 Rock pool at Spaniard Rocks, Rhossili Bay, Gower, South Wales, showing multi-coloured plastic flotsam on the water surface (2) 

Revision of a post first published 13 July 2009

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