Cheap bodyboards causing environmental disaster
Cheap, single-use bodyboards are evolving into a silent environmental disaster, as they’re continuously and increasingly being dumped along the coastline during summertime, according to Surfer Today.
Every summer, hundreds of thousands of low-cost bodyboards are discarded on the world’s beaches. They can be bought very cheaply and often end up smashed to pieces, floating out to sea or spread all over the sand.
The majority of these low-quality bodyboards, made from a two-inch sheet of polystyrene wrapped in a thin layer of nylon, are produced in Asian countries, often display colourful designs and Disney-like figures to attract children. They’re sold almost anywhere from small, local seaside shops to big retailers and supermarkets.
Fragile and easily broken in two after being ridden for less than an hour in the shore break, a snapped plastic boogie board unleashes thousands of micro polystyrene balls, which are very difficult to recycle.
Certain materials used to produce the boards have also not been tested in the laboratory and contain toxic substances and paint, causing a threat, not only to children and adults but also for the ocean and marine life, according to Surfer Today.
There have been reports of thousands of disposable boogie boards collected in the UK, United States, Australia, and European beaches.
On Croyde Beach in Devon, a local non-governmental organisation called Plastic Free North Devon (PFND) collected 500 polystyrene boards in 2019, although it’s believed that around 14,500 single-use bodyboards are dumped in the region every year during the summer. In 2019, Keep Britain Tidy’s BeachCare program recovered 480 low-cost bodyboards dumped in sand dunes, littered on beaches, or left abandoned beside garbage bins.
Several petitions have been filed to stop retailers from selling these boards and urge governments to ban them from the market.
A sustainable alternative could be the answer. There are many options available at surf shops with a range of price tags, many that can be enjoyed by riders of all ages.
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