Put the words BEACH and PLASTICS in the same sentence and thoughts go immediately to the current issues of plastics pollution and the damage to the marine environment caused by the improper disposal of single use plastics. But there is a happier way to consider plastics and the beach as I found during a recent morning walk along Bournemouth’s sea front.
This one sadly missing its chocolate flake, possibly removed by an over exuberant holidaymaker. Generally made from poly-resin and glass-fibre, models such as these are expected to stand up to the vagaries of the English summer weather.
Further along the prom I came across a lovely, colourful display of beach toys for sale.
Buckets, spades, starfish and shell shaped moulds etc. too good to leave behind after a busy day of sand sculpting and shell collecting. Made from lightweight and robust polyethylene and polypropylene such toys are far safer than the ones on offer that I remember as a child. Bare toes were particularly vulnerable when digging with a metal spade.
At the same kiosk were containers of brightly coloured windmills for children, made from weather resistant flexible polyester film, and racks of inexpensive sunglasses with acrylic or polycarbonate lenses and lightweight frames, in an inexhaustible range of styles and colours, hopefully offering some protection from the harmful sun’s rays.
Next up was the ubiquitous deck chair.
Suspended from the traditional folding wooden frame, the striped polyester canvas material, protected from the worst of the weather with a polyurethane coating and treated to resist the effects of UV light, it offers some degree of comfort to those wanting to avoid sitting on the sand.
Talking of sitting on the sand – a neat stack of sun loungers waiting for customers resembled some sort of weird sculpture created by the repetitious form of their moulded polypropylene frames.
And to top it all off, a giant glass fibre resin penguin to advertise the recent addition of a penguin enclosure at the Oceanarium, a visit to which might make one reflect on the importance of the safe and proper disposal of our unwanted plastics.
Pam Langdown (Collections Manager)