More plastics are washing up on the island. The usual scatter of footballs, drinks bottles, plastic containers, training shoes and much more. Many of these items may have made their way accidentally into the sea but 2 items turned up recently that had both thrown away deliberately and the people who threw them away left their contact details.
Firstly a plastic bottle turned up with a message on it asking for the finder to text through its location and then throw it back in the sea for it to continue its journey. We texted the owner asking them to stop polluting the sea and then we recycled the bottle.
Secondly a balloon arrived again with a message asking to know where the balloon got to. Again we texted the owner and asked them to stop releasing balloons that are harmful to marine life.
But why is this important? For the last 50-60 years marine debris has been increasing and it comes from all over the world and can travel huge distances on the ocean currents. Plastic marine debris can cause a whole list of problems that can be summarised as;
- entanglement – on the Isle of May we have had several shags and seals tangled in discarded plastics and nets.
- ingestion – on the Isle of May we have found dead fulmar carcasses with degraded plastics in its stomach. The eat them because they think they are food but then they clog up the stomach These may have contributed to its death and certainly wouldn’t have helped it is its breeding cycle.
- suffocation – plastic bags floating in the sea can suffocate a range of different types of marine creatures.
- free floating marine debris can be used by alien and invasive species allowing them to travel across seas and spread in new countries.
The 2 plastic items above found on the beach could very well have caused some of the problems above if we hadn’t collected them off the beach and recycled them. So if you are thinking of letting another balloon go or throwing another bottle in the sea, how about thinking again about your actions, their effect on the seas that surround us. Instead how about using your time and energy on something that has a positive benefit to the marine environment and the people and wildlife that live around it.
- Maybe carry out a beach clean?
- Or join a marine conservation organisation?