Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Toxic micro beads - found on our beaches

Toxic biobeads – found on our beaches

Strandliners: Cleaner Rivers, Cleaner Seas

Local environmental hero, Andy Dinsdale, who volunteers – along with so many others – so many hours and so much energy for Strandliners, sends out a regular report as to what the group are doing, sea and river updates, pollution and what to do if you find something toxic – and how to help and support their actions. “Please spread the word!” urges HOT’s Zelly Restorick. Photos: Marybeth Haas.

Strandliners has recently been:

attending sustainability events with the United Nations Association

cleaning up and surveying the banks of the River Rother

holding training sessions for their Community Action Team programme.

There are now many more people able to identify which marine debris is important, what/how to record the items found – and have the confidence to start organising their own surveys, whether solo or as a group.

Waterways challenge

The aim is for more inland waterways to be surveyed to understand how much pollution arrives on our beaches from inland communities and poor waste management.

Social media help needed

The group is growing quickly and there’s a need for help with their social media campaign. Interested in working with them? Please email:

Want to be a Strandliner?

If you or anyone you know would enjoy being part of the growing Strandliners community, please email:

Strandliners in action

Strandliners in action

River Rother plastic surveys & clean ups

Working with Surfers Against Sewage, the group completed surveys of 4 X 100m stretches. Each survey records the different types of rubbish polluting the river environment:

Weight of rubbish found: 48.91kg = 12.2kg per 100m
Pieces of individual rubbish found : 2591 = 648 pieces per 100m
% of plastic pieces = 96.8%
% of plastic weight = 80.7%

Pieces of household items/consumer items = 393 = 98 pieces per 100m
Weight of household items/consumer items = 18.08kg = 4.5kg per 100m
Highest percentage by weight :  Household/consumer items = 45.8%

Most common item found

Biobeads have been the most common identifiable item. A biobead is a primary micro plastic used as waste water treatment media. 400biobeads were removed in 1 sq metre in 20 minutess. So many, it’s impossible to remove all of them. All found above Monk Bretton bridge. Was this part of the tidal influence and they are being washed up from the sea? Or has there been a loss upstream?

Found in (Strandliner) action

Found in (Strandliner) action

Definitions and meanings

If you have anything you’d like explaining regarding marine pollution, waste, recycling, etc, please email your question: and we’ll attempt to demystify those technical terms!

Degradation of marine plastics

What happens to all the plastic polluting our oceans?

Most plastics are not biodegradable, but may be degraded by various abiotic factors, for example:

sunlight (photo-degradation)

temperature (thermal degradation)

physical stress (mechanical degradation).

These cause the plastic to become brittle and break into smaller and smaller pieces until they are decomposed sufficiently to become metabolised by microorganisms. Degradation may be quicker in plastics that float. But in deep marine environments, with low temperatures and lack of sunlight and oxygen, degradation can take many years.

A plastic bottle may not fully degrade for 450 years in a marine environment.

21 year old crisp packet.

21 year old crisp packet.

21 year old crisp packet

As an example, this Quavers packet washed up on Bexhill beach recently is readily identifiable, even though the layers are beginning to break down. But look at the date: the packet is at least 21 years old.

Pollution hotspot? What to do!

What to do if anyone finds any pollution hotspot or anything interesting or important:

  1. Take a photo, in situ preferably, but not 100% necessary.
    Take object home, if safe to do so and if it contains no living wildlife!
    Send an image with details (where/date/time/etc) to:
    Post the image onto the Facebook group
If you’re enjoying HOT and would like us to continue providing fair and balanced reporting on local matters please consider making a donation. Click here to open our PayPal donation link.Thank you for your continued support!

Posted 11:50 Thursday, Jan 30, 2020 In: The HOT Planet

1 Comment

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  1. Brian Rybolt

    what is a strandliner?

    Comment by Brian Rybolt — Monday, Feb 3, 2020 @ 10:25

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