Denmark cleans beach, only to dump waste back in water

Denmark cleans beach, only to dump waste back in water

The bulldozer operator uses the rake and the blade to scoop up seaweed and plastic along the beach shore.

In Denmark, a municipality spent more than $150,000 a year clearing debris from beaches, only to dump it back into the water.

Danmarks Radio published a video on their website showing a bulldozer out in the waters at Stillinge Beach in Slagelse, Denmark. It appears that the bulldozer blade lifts and dumps a lot of material, which reportedly includes plastic into the water, before coming back to shore.

The bulldozer operator uses the rake and the blade to scoop up seaweed and plastic along the beach shore. When the blade becomes full of debris, the bulldozer once again heads to the water. During the summer months in Denmark, this happens twice a week.

This process has been dubbed 'completely idiotic' by environmental experts.

Professor Torkel Gissel Nielsen, a faculty member at the National Institute of Aquatic Resources, called the proposed method "stupid" since it requires scraping seaweed with a noisy tractor, then depositing it into the water, then driving the tractor back ashore again.

Nielsen explained that this means what you have just dumped into the water will wash up on the beach immediately afterwards.

Villum Christensen, Deputy Mayor of Copenhagen, defended the practice, arguing that the bulldozers are sweeping up cigarette buds and other small debris and not plastic.

The cigarettes and other debris will be there anyway, Christensen said. When the water comes, it collects things, and those things then drift away.

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He said that he wanted Stillinge Beach to be "neat and clean."

Using bulldozers to clean beaches is at least the second time in the past year that environmental experts have condemned Danish authorities for questionable practices. Just this May, Danish officials dug up millions of dead mink despite a warning from Denmark's own environmental agency.

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