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Q. WHAT ARE THE SCUMMY BROWN BUBBLES ON THE BEACH AND WHY DOES THE SEA SOMETIMES APPEAR RED? COLOURED FROTH Suspended within and resting upon the surface of the sea is an unavoidable mixture of sediments (sand, silt, muds, peat and in some cases treated sewage). This decreases in concentration with distance from shore. With its vigorous movements (particularly in the breaking zone) the waves agitate the water and anything contained within simply gets frothed up (aerated) like a huge milkshake. The frothy foam can often be discoloured and soon gets deposited upon the shore often giving the

Curran Strand J.A.


appearance of something unsavoury. This often coincides with periods of heavy rainfall when the rivers which flow into the sea are in spate, carrying a larger than normal payload of suspended solids (soil and urban runoff). COLOURED WAVES The waves at some beaches look reddish-brown. This is peaty-soil which has been washed into the sea by rivers which pass through and drain peat lands eg. the R. Bush at Runkerry and the R. Margy at Ballycastle. ARE THERE ANY RULES? As with any publicly accessible area managed for recreation, there are

Whiterocks J.A.

rules and guidelines to good and safe behaviour. Here are some more typical questions. Q. IS IT ILLEGAL TO REMOVE SAND FROM A BEACH Removal of sand for any reason is strictly prohibited from all public beaches on the north coast and particularly those designated as either Areas of Special Scientific Interest, Special Areas of Conservation or Special Protected Areas. In the past sand was taken from beaches for agricultural purposes by farmers using a horse drawn cart and shovel. Today removal is often large scale and insensitive using machinery, which cause a lot of damage. Scientific evidence has reported that sediment removal over a long period of time is enough to cause serious erosion and shoreline recession on some smaller beaches. Report any sand removal to the relevant Local Authority.

Beaches .... an islands treasure  
Beaches .... an islands treasure  

An environmental guide to the recreational beaches of the North Coast by Coleraine Borough Council