‘Dangerous’ pebbles that look exactly like the real thing have invaded UK beaches.
Experts are concerned that the pebbles and rocks could endanger marine life and tourism across the UK.
“Dangerous” rocks and pebbles have washed up on beaches across the country.
Those walking along the shores miss the impostor rocks every day, as it was discovered that burnt plastic is imitating the appearance of pebbles and stones.
The “fake” plastic pebbles are washed up from the sea on a daily basis, and litter pickers miss them because of their pebble-like appearance, according to NorthWalesLive.
“It’s only when you pick them up and feel how light they are that you realize they’re not stones,” Hilary Rowlands, a founding member of the Tywyn Beach Guardians in Gwynedd, said.
The “stones,” known as pyroplastics, are thought to form when pieces of plastic are melted or burned and thrown into the sea, where they slowly weather to a grey and smooth consistency as they float on long ocean voyages.
Hilary has also discovered plastiglomerates, which are formed when burned plastic fuses with rock, as happens frequently when people light fires on beaches.
“I haven’t found them on any of the beaches I’ve visited,” she said.
“They are sometimes covered in oil or impregnated with the toxins released by burning plastic.”
“It’s all hazardous to the environment as well as marine life.”
“The longer-term worry is that they’ll degrade into microplastics, endangering marine food chains.”
Dr. Andrew Turner, an environmental scientist at the University of Plymouth, was the first in the UK to describe pyroplastics.
Hundreds of thousands of plastic rocks and pebbles were discovered by beachcombers in Cornwall.
Dr. Turner discovered they were made of polyethylene and polyproplyene, two of the most common plastics, using X-ray and infrared spectroscopy.
He was taken aback by how well the plastic impostors blended in.
“I show visitors 15 boxes of stones and ask them to pick the one that contains plastic stones when we have university open days,” he told North Wales Live.
“Only a few people get it right without touching them.”
As a result, determining the scope of the problem is difficult.
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Dr. Turner has received samples from all over the world, so it’s most likely a global issue.
And, despite recent events,
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