Under storm conditions large amounts of seaborne litter can be deposited on both Chesil Beach and Hamm Beach. This litter accumulates in the sea under normal weather conditions from a variety of sources including shipping, fishing and tourists. Storm conditions will bring this litter onto the shore. The problem is particularly bad on Chesil Beach with huge quantities accumulating in Chesil Cove at the southern end of the beach.
The large waves are capable of moving substantial items of litter. The large piece of metal shown on the left is part of a ship wrecked on the beach many years ago. The powerful waves during the 2014 storms lifted it from the seabed and left it stranded on the beach crest.
The litter on the beach is unsightly and is often removed from the accessible parts of the beach by voluntary litter pickers.
The lighter material such as plastics can be washed or blown over the beach crest to accumulate on the Fleet side of the beach. The very light material will be wind-blown further down the beach and into the Fleet or onto the land where again it can accumulate in significant quantities
However, the stretch of Chesil Beach along the Fleet is not accessible and is a very delicate environment. Removing the litter may cause more harm than benefit. The Fleet Study Group have been studying this problem for a number of years to determine the types of litter on the beach, how it is distributed and how much is arriving now. The aim is to inform policy on the control of the litter on this stretch of beach.
After a litter pick at Abbotsbury Picture: D. Moxom
Litter on the Fleet foreshore after a storm. Picture D. Moxom
Litter in Chesil Cove after a storm. Note the mass of seaweed floating just offshore. Picture: D. Moxom