More wind = More plastic on beaches

It’s getting windier, the trend has been studied for the last two decades, but in the last five years it has significantly increased. Average wind speeds across all oceans, and the frequency of gales has increased, especially as you head towards the pole. So what you might say? But this has two big impacts on both pollution and surf.

Obviously from a surfing point of view it means more waves, an increase in average swell height and frequency. It also means for us at the extremities of the world more on-shores as well apparently, as prevailing wind directions occur more often than the rarer off-shores we crave. But on balance I’d take more days in the water.

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From a pollution point of view, especially plastic, it should mean in theory a lot more of the stuff making landfall. That actually may not be such a bad thing. The best way still to get rubbish out of the ocean, with as little environmental impact as possible is, without a doubt, picking it up off beaches. What is more the most damaging plastic in the ocean isn’t the stuff that sits on the surface, but the stuff that sinks to the bottom to become food, or block light for light loving seabed dwellers. So whilst it means more rubbish is likely to make landfall, this could be a good thing, with Surfers Against Sewage and the 2 Minute beach clean engraining the beach clean philosophy even in non regular beach goers, it could result in us getting more rubbish, especially plastic, out of the sea.

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