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Island defeated by sea lettuce

Island defeated by sea lettuce

Monday 03 November 2014

Island defeated by sea lettuce

Monday 03 November 2014

It covers our shores and doesn’t smell very nice but there’s absolutely nothing we can do about Jersey’s sea lettuce problem according to an expert hired by the States.

Dr Kieran Conlan - the man who has been looking at our green beaches – says more research needs to be done to find out why it keeps washing up before the States invests in ways to process it at the new sewage treatment works.

Dr Conlan said sunlight, temperature and nutrients could all be contributing to the problem but no-one knows how yet.

This summer the Constable of St Helier Simon Crowcroft warned that the sea lettuce was scaring off tourists and pushed for something to be done before the Island got the reputation as a seaside holiday destination with smelly beaches. He now wants to make sure St Aubin's Bay isn't covered in the weed next summer.

Constable Crowcroft said: "Leaving the weed is not an option – it will make it difficult for people to use the beach and will create a lot of smell and harm the environment because it putrifies.

"There are no quick solutions but I do feel that more needs to be done to remove it from the bay and to find more imaginative ways of using it."

He's suggesting it's either used as compost on allotments and gardens or dried and then burnt in the incinerator. 

TTS are now looking to the French to see how they remove it from the sea before it gets clogged up with sand on the beaches.

Dr Conlan said sea lettuce isn’t just a Jersey phenomenon and that it’s worse in some places in France and Southern Ireland where it is often just left on the beach.

Director of Waste Strategy for TTS Steve Fisher said: “We were keen for people to know about the work that has been going on behind the scenes. We are working jointly with the Department of the Environment to develop a research study to provide sound evidence to generate a long term plan.”

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