Bottled: A New Year whodunnit

So, who left that bottle on the beach? You find lots of plastic on local beaches during the summer, but at this end of the year winter’s storms usually sweep the sand clean. But thereOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA it was, up among the bigger rocks on the high tide line at Newport Parrog.

It has been a good holiday for beaches, and dogs, with just the right sort of bright, brisk weather. We did our Boxing Day family walk and were back again yesterday, the break’s last Bank Holiday, for more of the same.

We chose Newport because it rarely fails to deliver a sunset ‘show’. It didn’t disappoint, but bottle got to me. There was not a speck of sand on it, and it’s colours were sharp, so it hadn’t spent any time in the sea.

Somebody had come to that beautiful bit of Pembrokeshire coastline (and presumably admired the view) and then dropped their bottle, once it was empty. Maddening.

The Marine Conservation Society reckons that plastic bottles litter the UK’s coast at a rate of around 160 per mile. A majority contained bottled water before they were discarded.

I don’t want to get into the Tap v. Bottled debate here; you can read it elsewhere. If you admire high-quality spin I’d direct you to the website of the International Bottled Water Association, which declares on its home page that “the bottled water industry is a strong supporter of our environment and our natural resources”.

The association seems to spend a lot of time taking journalists to task when they choose to say anything that questions our inalienable right to drink water that travels to us in plastic. So, I won’t mention the polluter-pays-principle, or the issues around warm water that spends time in plastic. And I keep to myself any thought about how there is an inherent irony in the fact that a product that is a major litter source is marketed on its purity.

The good news is that when people are told about the environmental impact of bottled water, they appear to rethink there buying habits. And, the psychology involved seems to be that when people get to think that most of us believe that water in plastic bottles is a bad thing, they are more likely to give it a miss.

I reckon this is one of those issues that will take a nudge to get peopleOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA changing their habits. It worked with carrier bags, and could with plastic bottles. A returnable deposit scheme is a ‘thing’ elsewhere in the world, so why not Wales? Read about it here.

PS, this is last night’s Parrog sunset (and I put that bottle in the bin on my way home).