Otrivin bottles making their way up the English Channel
Jacoline van Duijn found three at Katwijk aan Zee, Netherlands on March 18, 2019
Five months after showing up on South Hams beaches, little plastic nasal decongestant bottles have made their way in numbers further up the English Channel.
Reports from beachcombers and news outlets in Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Sussex and Kent said many Otrivin bottles have been washing up on their shores.
People around Hampshire, east Sussex and the Isle of Wight first started to report them to South Hams Newspapers reporter Kristen Bounds in January and February after seeing her online interactive map of where the bottles have been found.
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust also wrote an article asking people to report the bottles to help build a picture of the legacy of plastic litter in our seas after people had found many in the area.
Then in March, Kristen received reports from bottles washing up in west Sussex, and in the past two weeks a large quantity of bottles have been reported in Kent.
Tony Ovenden, coastal warden for the Thanet region in Kent, found 21 at Sandwich Bay and put out an appeal on the Thanet and Sandwich Coastal Finds Facebook page for beachcombers to keep an eye out as there were “many more to be found” over Easter Weekend.
He suspects the recent onshore winds and unusually high spring tides were a factor in bringing them onto the strandline.
Subsequently, new locations have been added to the online interactive map to show the path in which the bottles are travelling.
Since South Hams Newspapers ran the story in January, reports of the nasal decongestant washing ashore have come from as far as the Sillon de Talbert, on the north coast of Brittany, France; Texel, Netherlands; Katwijk aan Zee, Netherlands; and Thorpeness, Suffolk.
The mapping of the bottles originally started when Kristen found a number of them on a beach clean at Lannacombe beach, near Start Point.
She then put out a Facebook appeal to see if anyone else had found the bottles, and received replies from people down the coast to Cornwall, as well as Wembury, Plymouth Sound, Frogmore Creek and East Portlemouth and Bigbury-on-Sea.
South Hams Newspapers was then contacted by one of the world’s leading experts in marine plastic pollution, professor Richard Thompson, who wanted to use the bottles to track the legacy of ocean plastic pollution.
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