Plastic in Paradise

This morning we ventured out early to get to Little Beach.

Little Beach is very much an iconic local beach about 35 kms (or just over 20 miles) east of Albany.

We arrived around 5:30 to make sandcastles and enjoy the water. Despite the early conditions it was a bit more choppy than expected in the water, even without much wind.

The Little Fellas enjoyed the surf and the sandcastle making. Mrs PP strolled about checking things out.

What we found disturbing was the tiny fragments of plastic that was being washed up onto the beach. We started collecting just general rubbish and ended up with a decent bucket full of stuff. The beach certainly looked clean enough, but on closer inspection the plastic was everywhere.

It was also found at different parts of the beach depending on where the tide had made its mark. Now to put things into perspective, this is still not a lot of waste. Earlier in the year we visited Viet Nam and the southern beach we visited there was terribly littered.

Viet Nam – not just surface litter, but layered into the sand.

Now the sand in Viet Nam was quite clean in and of itself, however it was showered daily in gifts of refuse that came constantly and overwhelming on the waves of the South China Sea.

This is not occurring to the same extent on our local beaches. Yet what we found this morning was still an eye opener. Instead of collecting sea shells I found myself almost in a mesmeric state, walking the beach and picking out tiny fragments of plastic from amongst seaweed, shells and the drying corpses of fish and sea life.

The orange bottle tops give a good indication of the size of the items found.

Some items were easy to locate. Others blended in well. Twisted bits of white plastic pipe looked like tube worm shells. Chunks of foam were hard to discern from fragments of surf smashed cuttlebone. Knots of bright fishing line and netting resembled bright pieces of seaweed. We could see them all there, right next to each other.

Probably the most intriguing find was the foil wrapper of a potato crisp packet that was actually imbedded into part of the sand dune and was only exposed because the waves had started to erode a part of the dunes away. This packet was clearly deposited in situ over the last couple of decades and was very much intact and able to be read clearly.

A close second was the green glass Coca Cola bottle found by Mrs PP which we’ve not seen on supermarket shelves for a very long time. The top was faded enough to suggest that perhaps it had been floating out at sea a little while!

From the edge of the surf this wrapper was probably 2 metres up and a half a metre under the surface of the soil. The mind boggles.

We returned home and I spread out our beachcombing find to have a closer inspection. Not a bad haul really. Further motivation to reduce our plastic use and consumption.

2 thoughts on “Plastic in Paradise

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