There is now a petition calling for a national ban expanded polystyrene bodyboards after 16,000 of them were left on our beaches last year.
480 snapped plastic bodyboards were recovered from just two south-west beaches by Keep Britain Tidy ‘Beach Care’ programme. The bodyboards, were collected from Watergate Bay in Cornwall and Croyde Bay in Devon, and were found littered on beaches, dumped in sand dunes or left abandoned beside rubbish bins.
Unfortunately, when the foamed polystyrene bodyboards snap, they release hundreds and thousands of miniature polystyrene ‘balls’ into the marine environment, posing a direct threat to wildlife.
Foamed polystyrene is a type of plastic that when puffed with air is lightweight, buoyant and water resistant making them a good, cheap beginner bodyboard. Ideally people should be just using them in the smaller, white breakers at the edge of the sea. The problem occurs when people use them in the bigger waves often found in our popular surfing beaches in Cornwall and Devon. While foamed polystyrene can hold a rigid shape and in normal use it holds its shape well, if broken while using on the bigger waves it easily crumbles back into smaller individual pieces causing a direct source of plastic pollution to our oceans.
Foamed polystyrene pollution in the ocean can cause serious harm to marine life. Seabirds can mistake it for food while it bobs on the surface and once algae, barnacles and other small organisms grow on its surface, it may sink beneath the surface where even more ocean life can accidentally eat it. When eaten, foamed polystyrene has been demonstrated in experimental conditions to reduce fertility, decrease energy and alter juvenile development of invertebrates at the base of the marine food chain. Like other plastics, it also occupies space in animals' stomachs that should be available for food, sometimes creating a false feeling of fullness or causing a physical blockage that can lead to internal damage.
So, we have decided that this year we will no longer be buying and selling these cheaper bodyboards and instead only selling the higher quality bodyboards that you can enjoy year after year and can withstand the larger waves found on the Atlantic Coastline.
Why not join us in supporting this by signing the petition on the UK parliament website which can be assessed below.
References and useful links: