Frequently-visited beaches make it easy to find garbage thrown away by humans. Recently, environmental groups are concerned that large and small plastic wastes are being found not only on the beach but also in the distant seas where humans have not reached.
Yet, the visible garbage is not everything. Recently, researchers at the University of Plymouth, UK, have revealed that pebble “spoofed” plastic waste exists along the coast of Cornwall, southwest England.
According to a 16-day report by international media, including National Geographic, the researchers took pebble samples from Whitsand beach, Cornwall, which is known as a clean area with the help of environmental groups. Samples are gray, rounded rocks and pebbles that are easily seen on the beach, and at first glance, they are not much different from ordinary natural by-products.
But the researchers found that some of these ocean rocks and pebbles are plastic waste that has nothing to do with natural by-products.
Called Pyroplatic, the rubbish resembles a pebble or rock, confused by geologists. Some people who are not familiar with this existence simply regard it as a pebble that is light enough to float and collect it, or use it to create and display art.
But Dr Andrew Turner of the University of Plymouth, who led the research, confirmed that X-ray analysis and infrared spectroscopy showed that what we thought was a pebble was actually polyethylene and polypropylene, a kind of plastic.
Lead and chromium were found together in both types, and the researchers speculated that it was originally a bright color and then turned to fade or dark gray due to combustion. In addition, the edges have been rounded and weathered by erosion by wind and water for a long time, and it is estimated that the appearance of pebble has avoided the “doubt” of garbage.
The researchers speculated that the rubbish was left after a campfire on the beach, or was rubbed off the sea, but did not reveal where it came from.
Dr. Turner said, “Some samples have lead in large amounts of lead, and if animals consume this plastic, heavy metals can enter the food chain and threaten humans.” Share samples with US researchers to see if they contain harmful organic compounds. We are working on further analysis. ”
The detailed results are published in the latest issue of the journal Science of the Total Environment, published by L'Eviere, one of the world's leading academic publishing houses.
images from: Science of the Total Environment