There have been reports in the press recently that by the year 2050, there will be more pieces of plastic in the sea than there are fish. However this figure was calculated, and however reliable the ‘fact’ is, you only have to walk along a beach to see just how much plastic litter there is about. Some items you can appreciate may have been lost from ships and boats. Fish crates, buckets and plastic fishing nets for example – these are often to be found, and although they are not desirable, you can understand how they may have been lost overboard in rough seas or in the case of nets, caught up on underwater junk and jettisoned.
What can’t be excused is the quantity of plastic drinks bottles you see – you see bottles (usually the 250 ml and 500 ml size) that have contained water, energy drinks, flavoured milk, fizzy pop and fruit drink. These are the types of bottle that someone will empty while walking and then simply discard – a sad symptom of our throw-away society.
Flintshire coastal path
Most days, my husband and I walk with our dog along part of the Flintshire Coastal Path; it’s a lovely walk as it has not too many hills, the paths are well-maintained, and there is always something interesting to see. Yesterday for example we saw a bullfinch – the first one we have ever seen in real life. In the various seasons we have seen a wide variety of birds including kestrels, linnets, whitethroats, a kingfisher, a flock of long-tailed tits, fire crests and many other birds large and small. There is also an increasing number of bees and butterflies in the summer, which is great news for these increasingly endangered species, and the trees and wild flowers are lovely to see.
What is not so lovely is the large amount of dog fouling that we come across, despite there being warning signs about fines for fouling, and sufficient dog waste bins placed at strategic intervals. Thoughtless dog owners make life unpleasant for the rest of us, and the paths in the areas around the car park need to be negotiated with great care!
Despite the frequency of dog waste bins, there are no litter bins for ordinary litter on the part of the coast path that we use most regularly, and although it’s easy enough to take litter home with you, not everyone is so scrupulous. Plastic bottles and drinks cans are simply dropped on the path or thrown into the hedges and under the trees. Given enough time, the wind will blow most of these into the nearby sea, making the problem of litter in the ocean all the more serious. Maybe bins would help to improve the situation a little – after all, someone has to come and empty the dog bins, so they could empty the litter bins at the same time!
By the way, I think that among oddest pieces of litter I have come across in this area is a cylinder head from a car engine. I pass it most days, sitting by the side of a narrow footpath, about half a mile from the car park. I only remark on it because it’s quite a big lump of metal and not something that you can imagine anyone wanting to carry all that way, just to dump it in a beauty spot, but there it is.