Nearly three quarters of UK beaches littered with plastics

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 17 February 2017 in News

73 per cent of beaches surveyed contained tiny plastic beads known as nurdles

Beach - by Garann

Almost three quarters of UK beaches are littered with tiny plastic pellets, according to a survey conducted by an alliance of environmental groups.

The data, gathered in a survey of 279 beaches across the UK, shows that 205 beaches, or 73 per cent of those surveyed, contained tiny plastic beads known as nurdles, which are used in the manufacture of plastic products. The pellets attract and concentrate background pollutants and get eaten by marine animals and sea birds.

Campaigners estimate that around 53 billion nurdles escape into the UK's environment each year after being spilled or discarded by industry, with 230,000 tonnes estimated to be entering the ocean in Europe annually.


RELATED CONTENT

Brexit standards for Scotland's food and drink

SNP demands assurances over future of Peterhead Power Station


Madeleine Berg, Projects Officer at environmental charity Fidra said: “Simple precautionary measures can help spillages and ensure nurdles don't end up in our environment.”

"We are asking the UK government to ensure best practice is in place along the full plastic supply chain, and any further nurdle pollution is stopped."

Results from the hunt will be fed into the government’s consultation on microplastics.

In 2010, surveys conducted by the Marine Conservation Society collected over 53,000 items of litter from a 22km sample of Scottish beaches.

Tags

Categories

Related Articles

Fishing net Measures aimed at conserving fish stocks are being undermined, says WWF
27 January 2017

WWF warned the number of boats carrying cameras has fallen by half since landing obligation introduced in 2014

Iain Green 375 Sketch: The Scottish Parliament debates potatoes
27 January 2017

The Scottish Parliament talks rural development and New Year's resolutions

Golden Eagle RSPB Scotland: Wildlife crimes figures represent “the tip of the iceberg”
13 January 2017

The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee hears that crimes are still going under-recorded

Share this page