Cheshire’s Friends of Goostrey Station are keen to improve the environment around Goostrey railway station. This includes creating bug hotels and mounting boxes for birds and bats. Members have identified Pipistrelles using a bat detector and they have spotted nesting blue-tits. Now there are plans to introduce plant species that encourage wildlife. Since June 2019, vice chair Craig Sidebotham has been recording the various species and habitats around the station using a Geographical Information System (GIS) which has software to create maps. These can be seen on the FOGS website.
Currently, Craig is using the same software to create GIS maps which will allow people to catalogue and monitor plastic pollution washed up on the beaches of the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean. So this is where FOGS goes global!
Craig’s friend Andrew Gaunt lives on the volcanic island of Faial, one of the nine islands in the archipelago. As a former mariner, he has great affinity with and respect for the sea. In the summer of 2018, Andrew carried out his first beach clean in a remote location to the west of the island; he filled a small bag to the brim with plastic debris. Now he collects sackfuls each week and is intrigued by what he can deduce from closer examination of the rubbish. Analysis indicates that much of it originates in the lobster, mussel and net trawling industries of North America. Andrew has identified the names, telephone numbers and licences of fishing boat owners. He has found plastics originating from as far north as Greenland and as far south as South Africa. In addition, he can work out how long plastics have been in the ocean (and for some that is over 20 years).
Hundreds of plastic bottle tops regularly make land fall. And there are multitudes of single flip flops, shotgun cartridge cases, plastic pegs, printer cartridges, plastic lighters and nurdles. Nurdles are very small plastic pellets, the building blocks of all plastic products around the world; they are negligently lost during transport from petrochemical production sites all around the globe.
Andrew’s beach cleans are posted on Instagram (#midatlanticmarconi). Recently he has started to work with students from the University of the Azores and with enthusiasts in Cornwall (#turnthetidecornwall). The aim is to raise awareness of plastic pollution in our oceans and Friends of Goostrey Station are delighted to help.