Town ‘cleans’ beach by polluting sea — Analysis

Local media exposed a Danish municipality’s beach-cleaning methods. Seaweed and other trash were dumped in the ocean, only to then be washed up on shore again. This process is estimated to cost the town more than $150,000 annually.

The beach-cleaning techniques of the Slagelse municipality, located on the western shore of Denmark’s largest island of Zealand, made national headlines over the weekend. Broadcaster Danmarks Radio (DR) released footage showing a bulldozer clearing Stillinge beach by scraping seaweed and other trash from it – and then dumping what it collected back into sea just meters from the shoreline.

According to reports, the entire process costs 150,000 krone (over $150,000 annually) and takes place twice weekly during summertime. The town’s approach to beach-cleaning immediately came under fire from environmentalists, who blasted the futility and overall “idiocy”The process.

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“It’s completely idiotic, because it’s coming back again. You may take it a little further down the beach, but the seaweed will come ashore again afterwards,”Professor Torkel Nielsen, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, spoke to DR.

The cleaning method was not well received by those living close to the shore. They told the broadcaster that the bulldozer just dumps everything on the coast into the ocean, even cigarette bits.

“The problem is that what is dumped is filled with everything else lying on the beach,”Trine Winther, a vacation homeowner, told DR.

However, the municipal government has stood by their controversial cleaning procedure, insisting that they were necessary in order to attract tourists and provide them with a beautiful beach.

Villum Christensen (Deputy Mayor), who is also the head of a local committee for cleanup and has denied that plastic was being deliberately dumped into the ocean.

According to him, beach cleanups remove more trash than is necessary. However, smaller pieces like cigarette bits will be washed into the ocean anyway.

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