The Danish town of Slagelse has been caught on video dumping trash and seaweed picked up by a bulldozer during the summer months back into the ocean just a few yards away from the beach.
The video, released by Danmarks Radio, shows a bulldozer driving several yards into the ocean and dumping plastic waste and seaweed from the Stillinge beach into the water. Environmental experts have weighed in, harshly criticizing the practice.
According to Danmarks Radio, the bulldozer is utilized by the municipality throughout the summer months, combing the beach for plastic and other waste. Slagelse Deputy Mayor Villum Christensen appeared on DR to defend the practice, citing clean beaches in other parts of the region.
“We all have gone down south to the clean beaches in Mallorca and Gran Canaria,” Christensen said. “It’s from there that I have taken the inspiration that when you come to Stillinge beach, it should be neat and clean.” He claimed large pieces of plastic are not dumped back into the ocean, but argued that cigarette butts and “other small pieces of plastic” would end up back in the ocean “either way.”
Biological Oceanography professor Katherine Richardson at the University of Copenhagen wrote in an email to Vice, “This is by no means a helping hand to nature. On the contrary, it is bad for the small organisms that live between the small grains of sand that are torn through or crushed by the tractor. And of course there is far more of that than seaweed being collected. This is about one thing—convenience for beach goers.”
Experts have publicly disagreed with the practice, including Torkel Gissel Nielsen, a professor at Technical University of Denmark, who told the DR dumping the waste back into the ocean is “completely idiotic.”
Richardson elaborated in her email, pointing out that the waste will quickly wash back up on the beach, and that repeatedly digging up the sand on the beach is harmful for the organisms that live there. The municipality itself has not commented on the video, or said whether it will continue the practice in the future.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK POST
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