Volunteers hit the beach to seek and destroy mermaid’s tears


Forty people attended the Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) autumn beach clean at Porthtowan last weekend. The beach clean is one of two hundred and fifty going on across the nation.

Surfers Against Sewage is a UK environmental charity based in St Agnes. Its mission is to protect UK oceans for all to enjoy safely.

Niki Willows, SAS representative for Porthtowan, said:“The sea is my home. When we first moved down here I kept picking up rubbish off the beach, when you notice one bit you notice it all. When you read the statistics of fish and birds eating it and getting tangled up in it it’s awful.

“Its not that people are horrible it’s just that people don’t really think about things. Even if everyone picks up 5 things, that’s 5 things less that goes back into the sea.”

A lot of SAS’s work relies heavily on community projects and an army of volunteers from across the UK.

Mermaid’s tears also known as resin pellets or nurdles have been identified as one of the main sources of pollution on UK beaches. The small balls of plastic are used in the manufacturing of plastic products.

They are thought to enter marine eco systems through factory storm drains.

SAS is now urging companies to take responsibility to ensure they are kept away from marine environments.

Nancy Mappley, a volunteer at Surfer Against Sewage, said: “I volunteer at the SAS head office, it’s something I feel really strongly and passionate about. Plastic litter is the most common, we’re finding lots of small bits called mermaid tears which fish and mammals eat and it gets stuck in their system and kills them.

“The amount of rubbish found is seasonal; it depends on the weather and tides. After a storm it brings in all sorts of things, it can be clean one day and filthy the next day.”

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