We were wrong to think the weather might put off our volunteers, within minutes, a throng of intrepid litter-lifters were crowded around Dave, listening intently to his introduction. He covered health and safety on the shore (essential), before launching into why we were here and what was so important about cleaning our shores and beaches.
Dave gave us the good and the bad; many plastics take centuries to break down completely, microplastics in the ocean can collect toxic substances, and 90% of seabirds are thought to have eaten plastic and have it in their bodies. It’s believed that within a decade or two ALL seabirds with have eaten plastic of some form and when it’s not floating on the surface, plastic can sink to the seafloor. Here it can have dire effects on the delicate habitats, plants and animals that make the seafloor their home. As the plastic begins to degrade it breaks into tiny particles, those toxic microplastics. Fish and small marine animals eat these microplastics, bringing them into the food chain and potentially to your dinner plate!