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Washed up: The startling rubbish on Northern Ireland's shores

Odd flotsam is revealed in bid to tackle sea pollution

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A Peterborough council bin on Blakeney Point was among the unusual items found on beaches cared for by the charity

A Peterborough council bin on Blakeney Point was among the unusual items found on beaches cared for by the charity

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A monitoring buoy from Canada was among the unusual items found on beaches cared for by the charity

A monitoring buoy from Canada was among the unusual items found on beaches cared for by the charity

PA

Saudi Arabian aerosol can

Saudi Arabian aerosol can

PA

Russian bug spray can

Russian bug spray can

PA

A Peterborough council bin on Blakeney Point was among the unusual items found on beaches cared for by the charity

A working Canadian research buoy and sonar equipment from Texas are among the most unusual items found washed up on Northern Ireland's beaches.

The National Trust has unveiled the 20 oddest objects found on its shores - which include Russian bug spray, tiny plastic soldiers and thousands of neon pink detergent bottles - to shine a spotlight on marine pollution.

The charity is calling on staff, volunteers and the public to take part in beach or river cleans as part of a campaign to encourage people to tackle pollution and help the environment.

While some of the finds are of recent items and debris, some illustrate just how long waste can last in the seas. They include 19th, 20th and 21st century shoes beached at Orford Ness in Suffolk; a 1976 Claws crisp packet and a 1980s Picnic at Formby; Smarties lids from before 1988, and even a post-Prohibition era bottle of rum from the US.

Some of the items that turn up on UK beaches are from far afield, including an aerosol can from Saudi Arabia and plastic debris covered in goose barnacles thought to have drifted from the Caribbean.

There is also the Canadian research buoy washed up at White Park Bay in Northern Ireland, still recording temperatures and sending data via satellite, and sonar equipment from Texas which turned up at the Giant's Causeway.

But some of the debris is from closer to home, including a council bin from Peterborough, nicknamed "Pete", which travelled 70 miles along the River Nene to Blakeney Point.

Cargo lost at sea can also account for rubbish washing up on beaches, such as nautical-themed Lego from a 1994 spill at Land's End, and BMW parts, dog biscuits and oil-covered Mars bars from the MSC Napoli grounding off Devon in 2007.

Phil Dyke, coastal specialist at the National Trust, said: "It's fascinating to hear of the unusual things that land on our beaches, whether they're relics from history or objects that have travelled thousands of miles.

"But as weird and wonderful as these items are, they tell a more serious story about the permanent nature of plastic, and the constant deluge of marine litter arriving on our shores.

"No one in the UK lives more than 75 miles from the coast, so whether we're in the city or the country, everything we do impacts on the health of our seas."

He added: "Even small actions like using less packaging and picking up litter can make a difference.

"We've all got a part to play in helping our seas recover."

Belfast Telegraph