Horrific images of dead dolphin highlight sickening reality of plastic around coastline


Horrific images of a dead dolphin on a Cornish beach highlights the sickening reality of plastic blighting Britain’s coastline

  • Dolphin found on Pentewan beach, near St Austell, Cornwall by Simon Heester
  • It is believed to be the 31st of its kind found dead in the area already in 2019
  • Other carcasses found in places such as Par, Porthtowan and Rame Peninsula 

Horrific images have emerged of a dead dolphin’s rotting carcass on a Cornish beach, highlighting the sickening dangers posed by plastic to Britain’s coastline. 

The animal was discovered by Simon Heester who said it was entangled in rope and showed signs of ingesting plastic.

Found on Pentewan beach, near St Austell, Cornwall, the dolphin is believed to be the 31st of its kind found dead in the region in 2019.

Other carcasses have been found in places such as Par, Porthtowan and the Rame Peninsula.

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This dolphin was found on Pentewan beach, near St Austell, Cornwall by Simon Heester. Other carcasses have been found in places such as Par, Porthtowan and the Rame Peninsula.

This dolphin was found on Pentewan beach, near St Austell, Cornwall by Simon Heester. Other carcasses have been found in places such as Par, Porthtowan and the Rame Peninsula.

Ruth Williams, the marine conservation manager with the Marine Stranding Network, said the figures were shocking but not unprecedented.

It comes as Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee warns of plastic litter, untreated sewage, fertilisers and heavy metals pouring into oceans.  

It said Britain can do a lot more to stop plastic ending up in the ocean via rivers sewers and drains.

Around 80 per cent of waste dumped in the sea worldwide comes from the land. 

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Earlier this month, paddle-boarders found a calf floating in the water just off Kingsand, Cornwall, on January 17.

The carcass (pictured) was said to be entangled in rope and showed signs of having eaten plastic

The find in Cornwall comes as Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee is warning of plastic litter, untreated sewage, fertilisers and heavy metals pouring into oceans

The carcass (left and right) was said to be entangled in rope and showed signs of having eaten plastic. It comes as Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee is warning of plastic litter, untreated sewage, fertilisers and heavy metals pouring into oceans

Rame Peninsula Beach Care, posting on Facebook, described the find as ‘heartbreaking’.

Another dolphin was found washed up on Long Rock beach, Penzance, Cornwall, with a plastic tie around its tail.

Dee Kellow, of Newlyn, took pictures and said: ‘I was walking the coastal path this morning when I saw the poor thing. It’s so sad.’

A dolphin was also found dead this month on Jersey by Sandra Hilton, with its snout stuck in a plastic ring. 

Found on Pentewan beach, near St Austell, Cornwall, the dolphin is believed to be the 31st of its kind found dead in the region in 2019

Found on Pentewan beach, near St Austell, Cornwall, the dolphin is believed to be the 31st of its kind found dead in the region in 2019

HOW DO MICROPLASTICS GET INTO THE OCEANS FROM RIVERS?

Urban flooding is causing microplastics to be flushed into our oceans even faster than thought, according to scientists looking at pollution in rivers.

Waterways in Greater Manchester are now so heavily contaminated by microplastics that particles are found in every sample – including even the smallest streams.

This pollution is a major contributor to contamination in the oceans, researchers found as part of the first detailed catchment-wide study anywhere in the world.

This debris – including microbeads and microfibres – are toxic to ecosystems.

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Scientists tested 40 sites around Manchester and found every waterway contained these small toxic particles.

Microplastics are very small pieces of plastic debris including microbeads, microfibres and plastic fragments.

It has long been known they enter river systems from multiple sources including industrial effluent, storm water drains and domestic wastewater.

However, although around 90 per cent of microplastic contamination in the oceans is thought to originate from land, not much is known about their movements.

Most rivers examined had around 517,000 plastic particles per square metre, according to researchers from the University of Manchester who carried out the detailed study.

Following a period of major flooding, the researchers re-sampled at all of the sites.

They found levels of contamination had fallen at the majority of them, and the flooding had removed about 70 per cent of the microplastics stored on the river beds.

This demonstrates that flood events can transfer large quantities of microplastics from urban river to the oceans.



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