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Sea of plastic litters our shores

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PLASTIC rubbish churned up from the sea during last week’s stormy weather is now littering beaches across the Island.

Tracy Vibert with plastic recovered from beaches Picture: PETER MOURANT (20346355)

Since Storm Eleanor battered Jersey bringing with it 67 mph winds and huge swells, eco-conscious Islanders have been picking up rubbish – particularly plastic – that has collected along the shoreline.

Tracy Vibert, who has been combing Jersey’s beaches for more than 25 years, is among those who have taken it upon themselves to clean the bays of items and last weekend she and her husband Malcolm spent five hours clearing up rubbish at Ouaisné.

While doing so, the couple discovered two lobster tags belonging to American fishermen Nick Brown, from New Hampshire, and Cole Baines, from Maine.

‘I have been in contact with Cole Baines, who showed me where he fishes off America. The tags washed all the way across the ocean from over there,’ she said. ‘There was a huge amount of rubbish on the beach this weekend after all the storms we had – we collected seven bags altogether, four of which was recyclable waste, like plastic.

‘I found the two lobster tags as well – I have five from America now and 12 from Canada.’

The level of plastics in the world’s oceans continues to grow and it is estimated that eight million tonnes of the highly durable substance, which takes centuries to degrade, is dumped into the seas every year. Following last week’s storms beaches across the British Isles have also been blighted with plastic rubbish brought ashore in strong currents.

Last week Islander Hannah Le Bail found a cutlery set on St Ouen’s Bay which appeared to have travelled through waterways all the way from Lake Michigan in the US.

Mrs Vibert (56), a former retail worker, said that the problem with rubbish on beaches, particularly plastics, has grown over the years.

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‘A lot of the rubbish comes from fishermen,’ she said. ‘We get a lot of bits of rope washed up and bits of burnt-out cable, which they throw overboard.’

She added that she often finds bits of Lego, fishing hooks and plastic pellets during her regular beach cleans.

*A beach clean organised by environmental group Littlefeet is due to take place this weekend. A clean-up will take place on Saturday from 11 am at Ouaisné Bay and another will be held on Sunday from 11 am at La Pulente. Bags and gloves will be provided.

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