Small Town Spends $150K to Clean Beach, Dumps Trash in Ocean

by Matthew Memrick

When one Danish community cleaned its beach and threw the trash into the ocean, it basically threw away $150,000 in a month.

And the town figures on spending about a million dollars on the silly cleanup method for the year.

Slagelse Municipality spent that amount to bulldoze seaweed and plastic from its Stillinge Beach bi-weekly during the summer. The city took the waste a few yards deep into the sea and dropped it back into the water.

The New York Post reported that national broadcaster Danmarks Radio took the story and ran with it this past week.

Slagelse is about an hour’s drive west of the capital city Copenhagen.

Beach Cleaning, Trash Dump Called ‘Completely Idiotic’

Denmark Technical University professor Torkel Gissel Nielsen said the cleaning and ocean trash dum was “completely idiotic.”

Gissel Nielsen stated the obvious, saying, “(the trash) is coming back again. You may export it a little further down the beach, but the seaweed will come ashore again afterward.”

Katherine Richardson, a University of Copenhagen professor, said the move didn’t help nature but only helped beachgoers.

City officials did not respond to a Vice Magazine email, but the deputy mayor spoke publicly about the cleaning.

Mayor: City Wanted A Clean Beach Like Others 

Deputy Mayor Villum Christensen defended the method to the Danish broadcaster, saying beachgoers want a “neat and clean” beach like those vacation destinations like Mallorca and Grand Canary Islands in Southern Europe.

Christensen added another self-defeating remark, saying that cigarette buds and other small pieces of plastic will “end up [in the sea] for the most part, either way.”

“It will, by and large, be there anyway,” Christensen said. “The water comes and collects things and things with it, which drift out into the water again.”

According to the Danish broadcaster, other communities like Odsherred take the seaweed away and use it for soil improvement in agriculture. 

“At the shores of Odsherred, there is not much current in the water,” Odsherred environment official Michael Kappendrup Bay said. “So if we pushed it out, then it would just come back again.

Ocean Trash Facts

According to Condor Ferries, a group based in the United Kingdom, there’s a lot of trash and plastic dumped in the great sea.

Every day around 8 million pieces of plastic reaches the ocean. There’s so much plastic in the earth’s oceans that large trash piles float along major shipping routes.

For example, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is around 617,763 square miles, and it dwarfs the size of Texas in comparison.

Think it doesn’t affect you? If you like to eat fish, know that the group says 1 in three fish caught for human consumption contains plastic in its stomach.

The group also said that after last year, estimates are that there will be more pieces of sea plastic than the number of fish in the ocean.