Winter 2019/20

Welcome to the Strandliners Winter newsletter. 

Strandliners will be slowing down for the Christmas period. But definitely not joining in the consuming and buying unless sustainable in the making (local, etc.) and enjoyment (something that will be used and enjoyed many times, experienced and remembered).

Strandliners has been attending sustainability events with the United Nations Association, cleaning up and surveying the banks of the River Rother, and holding training sessions for the Community Action Team programme where there are now many more able to identify what marine debris is important, what/how to record it and have the confidence to start organising their own surveys whether solo or as a group. The aim is for more inland waterways to be surveyed to understand how much pollution arrives on our beaches from inland communities and poor waste management.

As we are growing quickly there’s a need for help with our social media campaign. If anyone is interested in working with us in this field please email for a chat.

Recent events

River Rother plastic surveys & clean ups (working with Surfers Against Sewage)

Brilliant events for cleaning up rubbish on the east bank and surveying multiple points along the river. A huge thank you to all who participated as without you this would not have been achievable. And thank you for the refreshments provided too – biscuits and cake!

Results are in…

Clean ups:
Nearly 100 volunteer hours
63 bags
286.7 kg
1.8km of one bank of the Rother.
No large items removed as these would not be picked up by Biffa.

Surveys:  4 X 100m stretches
The survey records the different types of rubbish polluting the river environment.
Weight = 48.91kg, equivalent to 12.2kg per 100m
Number of pieces = 2591, equivalent to 648 pieces per 100m
% plastic pieces = 96.8%
% plastic weight = 80.7%pieces of household items/consumer items = 393, equivalent to 98 pieces per 100m
weight of household items/consumer items = 18.08kg, equivalent to 4.5kg per 100m
Highest percentage by weight was  household/consumer items = 45.8%

Most common item found
Biobeads were most common identifiable item (primary micro plastic used as waste water treatment media). 400 removed in 1 sq metre in 20 mins. So many that it’s impossible to remove all of them. And found above Monk Bretton bridge. Was this part of the tidal influence and they are being washed up from the sea? Or has there been a loss upstream?

Biobeads are 5mm in size, crinkly primary micro plastic beads. Usually black, grey, blue/green.

Future events

Community Action Team
Beach plastic rubbish identification & survey training

We are coming to the end of 2019 CAT training. Great participants joining in the discussion at Pett Level, Camber and Bexhill. The final event is CAT – Part 3.

Wednesday December 4th – RSPCA Mallydams Wood – Part 3
Session 3 open to all who have completed sessions 1 + 2 + river practical (or have equivalent expertise, knowledge).

Nurdle hunting (and Biobead discovery)
Friday 3rd January – 10am
River Cuckmere, 60 minute return walk, looking at the strandliner in the salt marsh (can be muddy!)
Please book a place here.

What is this?

Found on the River Rother bank during the Surfers Against Sewage October/November clean ups.

This item is old plastic, well worn and has the remains of barnacles and keelworm so has been in the sea a while. It was found washed up nearly 3 km up the River Rother.

We believe we have an idea but have not found a similar one in plastic anywhere. If you want a clue, look at the bottom of this newsletter! Any answers please email standlinerscic@gmail.com.

Definitions and meanings 

If anyone has anything they’d like explaining regarding marine pollution, waste, recycling etc please email your question to us at Strandliners and we’ll attempt to demystify those technical terms!

This month – “Degradation of marine plastics”

What happens to all the plastic polluting our oceans? Most plastics are not biodegradable but may be degraded by various abiotic factors, for example sunlight (photo-degradation), temperature (thermal degradation) and physical stress (mechanical degradation). These cause the plastic to become brittle and break into smaller and smaller pieces until they are decomposed sufficiently to become metabolised by microorganisms. Degradation may be quicker in plastics that float. But in deep marine environments, with low temperatures and lack of sunlight and oxygen, degradation can take many years: a plastic bottle may not fully degrade for 450 years in a marine environment.As an example, this Quavers packet washed up on Bexhill beach recently is readily identifiable, even though the layers are beginning to break down. But look at the date: the packet is at least 21 years old.

What to do if anyone finds any pollution hotspot or anything interesting/important

1 – take a photo, in situ preferably but not necessary.
2 – take the object home, if safe to do so and if it contains no living wildlife!
3 – send an image with details (where, date, time etc.) to StrandlinersCIC@gmail.com
4 – post the image onto the Facebook group
Rye Bay Beachcombing (soon to change it’s name but will be the same group)

Beachcombing walk
Saturday 4th January – 10am
Pett Level, Fairlight & Cliff End
This will not be advertised beyond this newsletter and 20 will be the maximum we are able to take. Walking on shingle and rocks.
Please book a free place here.

Beach surveys at Dungeness
Saturday 25th January – 1pm
This is provisional until the MOD say yes and will not be advertised beyond this newsletter. We hope to start monthly surveys at this remote site to give more accurate marine debris data. 60 minute return walk on shingle. Maximum 16 participants.
To join please email here.

What is this? We believe it is an old octopus pot maybe from the Iberian Peninsula, Mediterranean or NW Africa! They can be washed by the North Equitorial Current from west coast Africa to the Caribbean and then back with the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Drift to N.W Europe. But anyone with any other thoughts? 

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