Environmental campaigner Jennifer Lonsdale with the haul of plastic she found on Blakeney marshes

Campaigner highlights plastic problem at Blakeney Point wildlife haven

Tuesday, January 22, 2013
11.00 AM

Wildlife at a north Norfolk nature haven is being put in danger by carelessly thrown away plastic says a environment campaigner who found a haul of it on a weekend walk there.

Jennifer Lonsdale, a founder of the international Environmental Investigation Agency who lives in the area, took a stroll in the Blakeney Point area - for pleasure rather than work - and was concerned at the amount of plastic items she found.

It included plastic shopping bags, bottles and a polystyrene fish box - all of which could spell trouble for porpoises, birds and seals.

“I spend a lot of time on the marshes because I love it. I only walked about two miles from Morston to Stiffkey but picked up about 20 items.

“Our campaign group works on the impact of marine debris, including plastic, on whales, dolphins and porpoises - it can cause choking and blockages, and it is not great for birds either,” said Mrs Londsale from Great Ryburgh.

Even when plastic broke down into smaller pieces it got into the “organic micro layer” displacing plankton, krill and microbes essential for oxygenation.

“The point I am making is that people should be more careful with the way they dispose of plastic - and if they are out on walks they could pick up anything they find.

“The EIA is making governments aware of the situation globally - but people can make a big difference locally too,” she added.

Even stubbing out cigarettes in the sand could cause problems as the butt ends contained toxins which could burn the insides of birds which ate them thinking they were food.

Blakeney Point is run by the National Trust, whose countryside manager Victoria Francis said its ranger team did its best to pick up litter, which also included party balloons and cotton buds,

She welcomed any move to encourage better disposal and said people could join a pre bird breeding season public beach clean on Saturday March 23. For more details contact the reserve on 01263 740241.

● For more about the EIA’s work visit www.eia-international.org.