Not so pretty now! Earlier I wrote about a multi-coloured rock pool at Rhossili that I had photographed on 26th June 2009. The pool was full of small pieces of brightly coloured plastic and other rubbish. This was highly unusual for this otherwise outstanding and beautiful location. A great deal of flotsam does accumulate on the sand here but I had never observed it migrating to the rock pools before. I commented that, despite its detrimental effect on the environment, it was visually quite attractive.
Several weeks later, on 6th August 2009, I noticed that regurgitated seabird pellets on the sand (near to the outcrop of rocks with the rubbish-filled pool) contained not only mussel shells from the rocks but also small pieces of coloured plastic (see Gulls’ gobbets on Rhossili seashore).
At the same time, the pretty pool was no longer pretty. More rubbish had accumulated and the water itself was stained deep red. The photographs in today’s blog show what it looked like then.
I will be visiting the place again soon. I hope that high tides and stormy seas will have scoured the pool clean. The rubbish, however, will be a continuing problem which washes ashore from hundreds of miles away.
I often see dead and decomposing seabirds on the shore. Most seem to have broken their neck while diving. From now on, I will look to see if the stomach contents remain in situ to determine the extent to which plastic rubbish is being ingested by the birds.
If you would like to read more about the way plastic rubbish is contaminating the environment and entering the food chain, have a look at Pharyngula.
Revision of a post first published 20 October 2009
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