Number of broken bodyboards recovered from South West beaches fallen by a third

Credit: Ocean Recovery Project

The number of broken bodyboards recovered from beaches across the South West has fallen by a third, an environmental charity says.

Following the success of a hire scheme roll out, Keep Britain Tidy revealed that 1,011 bodyboards were collected this summer, down from 1,503 last year.

Supported by community groups, beach owners and other organisations the charity collected boards from Croyde Bay, Saunton Sands, Bude, Newquay, Perranporth and Polzeath.  

Keep Britain Tidy first raised the issue in 2010, going on to educate visitors about the environmental impact of the cheap plastic boards, which are made up of harmful plastics.

Supported by holiday resorts and leisure outlets, last summer the charity launched a £1 hire scheme for visitors to rent.

Neil Hembrow, from Keep Britain Tidy’s Ocean Recovery Project, said: "Our hire scheme is helping as part of the bigger drive to eradicate these cheap boards.

"Since we started to raise awareness, some local shops are now refusing to sell them or are changing their stock to higher quality boards.  

The ‘Wave of Waste’ hire scheme has seen the charity supply resorts with quality bodyboards to rent to their guests in order to stop demand for cheap disposable boards.

1,503 broken boards were recovered from beaches across the South West last year Credit: Ocean Recovery Project

Neil added: "We want to remind visitors to our beautiful coast that while some bodyboards may be ‘cheap’ to buy they are very costly for our environment."  

The poor quality of polystyrene bodyboards means many snap after just a few uses and are either left to pollute the marine environment or end up in landfill.  

To raise awareness, 608 of the broken boards were stacked and displayed on Polzeath beach, with 267 others arranged into a temporary colourful art installation on Perranporth Beach.

The plastic boards have also been transported to Devon where they will be reused as insulation for an eco-barn construction.