April 2020

Everyone here at Strandliners sends best wishes and good health to all at these strange and uncertain times.
We are in the process of creating some new methods of sharing news, activities and support for all, including those of us who may not be able to access the outdoors as usual.

Social media is playing a greater role in connections and for the first time we suggest that to be more connected with the coastal, riverine, marine environment, it may be beneficial to join Facebook. We know that there are issues with social media, but at this time it can be a useful way to communicate. You can join and keep your own settings totally private but still have access to the Strandliner Facebook groups. (If all this is new to you, please do contact Strandliners for further details.)

As all outdoor events for the foreseeable future have been cancelled Strandliners is planning to bring the Community Action Team training online. We will have more news next month.

A second newsletter will go out mid-month which will include activities, quizzes, guest articles and more. Anyone out there who would like to share their beach stories, their finds, pollution issues, outings (if you’ve been able to do so) or has something they’d like to have identified, please do email. As always we’d love to hear from you.

The last events before lockdown

Nurdle hunts at Camber and Cuckmere

A report by Beverley Coombes

Nurdles and Bio-beads are primary microplastics, produced at this size (under 5mm). 
Nurdles are pre-production plastic and lost (in their millions) in transit between the oil refinery and the final plastic product. Bio-beads are water treatment media used by large organisations to clean water and have been lost in their millions into our environment.

Microplastics on strandline at Camber Sands beach
Microplastics on the River Cuckmere strandline (and a nickar nut!)
Sorting out the nurdles and bio-beads

What an incredible nurdle-hunting weekend! We could not believe the amount of microplastics on the strandline at both Camber and the Cuckmere. We collected up as many nurdles and biobeads as we could from each 1 square metre survey area. Those we couldn’t pick up in the time available -because there were just so many of them – were simply scooped up and brought back with us. At Camber we picked up a staggering 10 kg in 10 minutes from the area you can see in the picture.

Our theory was that by putting the collected nurdles, biobeads in water, the sand/mud would sink and the microplastics float. Unfortunately, the vegetation and general rubbish floats as well. So began the slow but methodical process of separation…

It takes good light, and more than a little patience, to pick them out from the vegetation, seeds, shells, and secondary microplastics. The final count from the Cuckmere was over 5,000 nurdles and 5,000 biobeads from just 1 square metre – yet another site returned zero! The movement of the tides and currents moves the flotsam and jetsam around constantly.

However, our patience was rewarded. In amongst all the microplastics, there was treasure: a hamburger bean at Camber, and a nickar nut (and a Lego flipper from the 1997 container spill) at the Cuckmere!

Read this news from the Plastic Soup Foundation and see why surveying & recording for the pollution in our environment is a worthwhile path to take, One of the first successful actions against a petrochemical company polluter in the Netherlands. They have been losing millions of nurdles a day.

Would anyone like to contribute to a Strandliners newsletter?

Articles on your own thoughts about marine debris, plastic waste, clean ups and surveys are welcome
– just email Strandliners and let me know. Do you have any beach found items needed to be identified?

 Plastic pollution and the Covid-19 situation

There are reports from the U.S that the plastic industry are pushing for individual states to roll back bans on single-use items, suggesting that single-use has a valid role to play with the Covid-19 strategy. This may be true in the medical industry, but have there been plastic single-use items, such as gloves, wet wipes etc been disposed of inappropriately? The images above were on my one shop last week.

Here is an interesting link around the discussion of Plastic pollution, reuse and Covid-19.

Strandliners win a Prime Minister Award

The Points of Light award given by the Prime Minister, highlights an enormous array of innovative and inspirational volunteering  across the length and breadth of Britain. https://www.pointsoflight.gov.uk/strandliners/

Andy Dinsdale accepts this award on behalf of all the volunteers who have participated in clean ups, joined in with recording and surveys, signed up to become subscribers of this newsletter, travelled the journey with him and especially the pioneers of the Community Action Team training. Points of Light