Beach clean-up brings in the rubbish

UNNATURAL: A bird's nest found at Sponge Bay, partially constructed with pieces of plastic. Picture by Glenda Smith
RUBBISH REALITY: Volunteers at Plastic Bag Free Tairawhiti’s Sponge Bay beach clean-up on Sunday collected hundreds of cigarette butts, including these picked up by Kya Solomon. Picture by Nicky Solomon
TOXIC: Polystyrene collected at Sponge Bay. Over time, the petroleum-derived material breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, which in turn are ingested by marine life. Pictures by Nicky Solomon

HUNDREDS of cigarette butts and a bird’s nest partially made from plastic highlighted the “depressing” rubbish reality during a beach clean-up at Sponge Bay on Sunday.

A group of about 10 hardy volunteers turned out for Plastic Bag Free Tairawhiti’s (PBFT) monthly beach clean-up, held at Sponge Bay for the first time.

While there were less large items found, which in the past have included various appliances and furniture, the smaller items were just as concerning.

In addition to half a bucket of cigarette butts, volunteers collected tiny pieces of polystyrene and plastic, disposable nappies, and filled a sack with recyclable cans and bottles.

“Maybe some people don’t realise the impact these small things have,” PBFT’s Dr Nicky Solomon said.

“Cigarette butts end up in our oceans and beaches, and birds and sea life swallow and can choke on them.”

Cigarette filters are generally made from a combination of tiny plastic fibres and paper. They can take 10 to 15 years to begin to break down, but even then degrade into smaller pieces of plastic that can also cause harm to marine life.

Their appearance on beaches is commonplace around the world.

A Californian surfer, fed up with finding them at his local break, made headlines around the world after he constructed a surfboard using cigarette butts for the core.

“Littering them (cigarette butts) on the beach seems like such an unnecessary thing to do,” Dr Solomon said.

“We just hope more people can become aware and make changes to their lifestyles.

“Each one a person does not throw away is one that will not end up in the ocean.”

Some of the items could be confused for natural items by animals, evident by the bird nest made of plastic.

“That was really depressing to see. Even tiny pieces of polystyrene look like little pieces of pumice.”

The next PBFT beach clean-up, and last for 2017, is on Sunday, December 31, from 11am at Waikanae Beach.

“There will be lots of visitors in town, who we hope will join in, and who we can show that us locals care about our place.”

HUNDREDS of cigarette butts and a bird’s nest partially made from plastic highlighted the “depressing” rubbish reality during a beach clean-up at Sponge Bay on Sunday.

A group of about 10 hardy volunteers turned out for Plastic Bag Free Tairawhiti’s (PBFT) monthly beach clean-up, held at Sponge Bay for the first time.

While there were less large items found, which in the past have included various appliances and furniture, the smaller items were just as concerning.

In addition to half a bucket of cigarette butts, volunteers collected tiny pieces of polystyrene and plastic, disposable nappies, and filled a sack with recyclable cans and bottles.

“Maybe some people don’t realise the impact these small things have,” PBFT’s Dr Nicky Solomon said.

“Cigarette butts end up in our oceans and beaches, and birds and sea life swallow and can choke on them.”

Cigarette filters are generally made from a combination of tiny plastic fibres and paper. They can take 10 to 15 years to begin to break down, but even then degrade into smaller pieces of plastic that can also cause harm to marine life.

Their appearance on beaches is commonplace around the world.

A Californian surfer, fed up with finding them at his local break, made headlines around the world after he constructed a surfboard using cigarette butts for the core.

“Littering them (cigarette butts) on the beach seems like such an unnecessary thing to do,” Dr Solomon said.

“We just hope more people can become aware and make changes to their lifestyles.

“Each one a person does not throw away is one that will not end up in the ocean.”

Some of the items could be confused for natural items by animals, evident by the bird nest made of plastic.

“That was really depressing to see. Even tiny pieces of polystyrene look like little pieces of pumice.”

The next PBFT beach clean-up, and last for 2017, is on Sunday, December 31, from 11am at Waikanae Beach.

“There will be lots of visitors in town, who we hope will join in, and who we can show that us locals care about our place.”

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Who do you think would be the best person to lead the National Party?