Day 2 - Soar Mill Cove, plastic paradise

Making our way down to Soar Mill Cove

Making our way down to Soar Mill Cove

Sunday 2nd April 2017

Soar Mill Cove in South Devonshire is a small inlet of sand just 80m wide flanked by yellow heather-clad bluffs. With the glorious sunshine turning the ocean into a shimmering vista of blues and whites, we were stunned by this glorious corner of England. At first glance, we were relieved to see it appeared to have escaped the worst of the plastic tide. But sadly we were mistaken; a closer look revealed plastic fragments everywhere. Over the next 3 hours we collected over 1,500 pieces of plastic, mostly small fragments of bottles and chunks of polystyrene, weighing in at 4.4kg. We later found out the beach had been cleaned twice already in the past week.

Drone Pilot Ellie Mackay surveying the spectacular Soar Mill Cove

Drone Pilot Ellie Mackay surveying the spectacular Soar Mill Cove

Throughout the day we both wrestled with thoughts of futility as we spotted countless clear plastic fragments glistening in the sun. A rotting carcass of a dolphin lay at one side of the beach, bloating under the sun, whilst people enjoyed the beach around it. It was a visceral symbol of how oblivious we are of the impacts on nature that are often right under our noses.
 


With local beach goers telling us the next tide would bring another Plastic Tide with it and undo all our work, we couldn't help but ask ourselves 'why are we doing this?'

We believe the answer is simple; it is a start. 1,500 pieces of plastic will now not break down into hundreds or potentially millions of pieces of microplastics. For the seafood-eaters out there, this may prevent some of the estimated 11,000 pieces of microplastics per year ending up on your dinner plate. In other words it means eating a little bit less of our own garbage. We are only just starting to understand the potential impact this has on us (see here and here), not forgetting the dangers it poses to ocean wildlife, with an estimated 90% of seabirds carrying plastic in their stomachs and 100,000 animals dying each year from eating plastics.

Tangled fishing line, a depressingly common item.

Tangled fishing line, a depressingly common item.

Fist full of nurdles; the bad boys of beach litter.  These tiny balls of plastic are used as raw material in industrial processes.  They are often spilled into the environment and are found in their hundreds of thousands on beaches around the world.

Fist full of nurdles; the bad boys of beach litter.  These tiny balls of plastic are used as raw material in industrial processes.  They are often spilled into the environment and are found in their hundreds of thousands on beaches around the world.

This highlights why action is so important, why we need YOU to help us however you can - donate, tag, or join us on our beaches. Think what we could have done with 10 people, or 20, in the same time


Check out our Facebook page for details on upcoming beach cleans, and our crowdscience page to make a donation.

We have to thank the friendly beach-goers at #soarmillcove who took 2mins out of this fabulous Sunday to help us pick up plastics and for cooperating during our drone survey.  

Also @soarmillcovehotel for being so wonderfully supportive and allowing us to enjoy their beautiful vistas of the Cove (and for the much-needed cup of tea!)


Next stop Hemmick Beach...