Plastic pebble pollution alert on beaches around the world. They are made of molten plastic, mixed with sand and algae. After being rolled by the waves, they become difficult to distinguish from real pebbles.
Many of the pebbles are believed to originate from plastic bottles, scientists say. The Cornish Plastic Pollution Coalition says they could enter the food chain if they decompose.
The plastic stones on the seashore threaten to suffocate the beaches, warn environmental associations.
Cornish experts said they are studying reports of the rise of so-called “plastigglomerates”, created from melted plastic combined with other materials such as sand, pebbles or seaweed, reaching the coast.
They are believed to come from plastic bottles or similar items that melt after being burned in bonfires and beach barbecues.
The Cornish Plastic Pollution Coalition cautioned that when plastic particles are washed away by waves along the beach, they are difficult to distinguish from natural pebbles.
The organization warned people to stop burning plastic on beaches.
They have already collected information from hundreds of plastic pebbles collected in Cornwall, Devon, Pembrokeshire, Orkney, Spain, Portugal and Hawaii.
The danger is that they become pebbles or stones and are incorporated into the food chain, so they need to be eliminated as any plastic would be.
People need to be aware that burning wood on the beach is one thing, but burning plastics with all the toxic fumes they emit is quite another.
Identified as part of a 2014 study, plastigglomerates pose an additional challenge to the beach ecosystem, which is already under attack from plastic pollution more widely as a result of single-use items like bottles.
Canadian academic Dr. Patricia Corcoran, who first identified the plastic pebbles and named them Plastiglomerate, said they could also be formed by lava flows and wildfires.