A recent academic article has discovered that beaches in Cornwall are among the most litter-strewn in the UK. Using beach clean data going back 25 years, they found those beaches bordering Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) at the Land’s End, Mount’s Bay, Padstow Bay and Newquay & the Gannel were among the ten most polluted in the UK, with levels of litter second only to the Thames estuary.
Almost 70 per cent of the litter picked up was plastic, while, of the litter that could be sourced, over half came from the public discarding items, a fifth was from fishing activity and the rest from sewage and shipping. Meanwhile, eight of the ten MPAs with the highest levels of plastic litter were found in Cornwall. In addition to those mentioned above, this included Hartland Point to Tintagel and Lizard Point.
These findings, coming as they do after other similar research, should start ringing alarm bells about the capacity of the Cornish environment to cope with an ever-growing residential population in addition to the millions of tourists who descend on our beaches every year. Many – both locals and visitors – seem incapable of understanding what ‘take your rubbish home’ means.