Islanders are being urged to consider the impact of plastics and pollution on Jersey’s beaches as World Ocean Day approaches.

The Department of the Environment have teamed up with eco active to raise awareness of the threat posed to the world’s oceans by increasing levels of pollution. A specific concern is the number of complaints being received about dog mess on beaches being left in plastic bags.

Eco active Programme Manager Jane Burns said: “Going through the comments received since the launch of eco active’s ‘Proud of you for picking up my poo’ campaign, we were surprised by how many people had seen bags of poo floating in the sea or left on the beach. World Ocean Day is a good opportunity to remind people the importance of disposing of all litter responsibly and to make sure that dog poo is bagged and then put in a bin.”

Water Resource Management and Regulation Officer, Shelley Hawkins said: “It is important for dog owners to know that leaving dog poo on the beach has the potential to reduce bathing water quality, so it is important to pick it up. But to leave dog poo in plastic on the beach or throwing it into the seas has a double impact, adding further to the increasing problem of plastic pollution in the sea. Not only does littering Jersey’s beaches impact water quality and harm wildlife, it greatly reduces other user’s enjoyment of Jersey’s coastal environment.”

Scientists have estimated that plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean covers an area twice the size of Texas. Smaller areas of plastic pollution have now been found trapped in circular currents in the North Atlantic, South Atlantic and Indian Ocean. One study in 2012 estimated there is approximately 165 million tons of plastic in the world’s oceans.

Marine and Coastal Manager, Jon Shrives said: “Plastics in the sea can entangle or suffocate marine life, but they also break down to smaller and smaller pieces, called micro-plastics. These micro-plastics have harmful effects on marine life and can ultimately end up in the food we eat.”

“We all enjoy using Jersey’s fabulous beaches, but we would ask people to think about what they do with their rubbish. Whilst the tide may make it disappear from sight on the beach, it hasn’t gone away.”

There are a number of organised beach cleans which Islanders can get involved with. For more information contact eco active: infoeco-ative@gov.je