Joe Lycett’s ‘Got Your Back’ episode on cheap polystyrene bodyboards aired yesterday evening.
The BAFTA-nominated consumer rights series with a comedy twist focused on how cheap bodyboards are discarded in coastal towns across the UK each year littering beaches and polluting the sea, and the filming took place in Bude earlier in summer.
Keep Britain Tidy explains the problem:
Cheap polystyrene body boards are polluting our lovely beaches – and filling up our landfill – here in the UK.
Over 14,000 of them get thrown away every summer, with many more floating off to sea and damaging the marine environment.
Why are they so bad? They are made in China and then transported over 11,000 miles. But they aren’t built to last. They are made from a 2 inch sheet of polystyrene and wrapped in a thin sheet of nylon. While they might look the part, they usually break after a few minutes’ use. They might be cheap, but they are nasty too. And a massive waste of money.
Made in China, shipped 11,000 miles, surfed for 10 minutes…destination landfill.
We estimate that if 2 broken boards were discarded each day of the summer holiday on every Devon & Cornish bathing water beach then over 14,586 boards would head to landfill.
Polystyrene in the ocean is a big problem. It does not biodegrade. Boards that float in the sea or on our beaches will get broken up by waves into millions of tiny floating polystyrene balls. Marine life will mistake them for food. The results aren’t pretty. It’s no better when they go to landfill. They will stay there forever.
As locals know, Bude is at the forefront of the environmental movement, so where better for Joe Lycett to meet those involved and film for his series.
Many retailers, like Zuma Jay, are well aware of the issues and hire out quality boards instead. Supermarkets and some retailers are still not on board, however. Hopefully, that will change with the spotlight on better alternatives.
Organisations such as 2-Minute Beach Clean and Bude Cleaner Seas were also involved in the programme and are constantly working to make the environment cleaner and better – so amazing to be able to get the word out to such a large audience.