Denmark spent over $150,000 to rid a beach of debris and seaweed, then dumped it in the water with a bulldozer

Denmark spent over $150,000 to rid a beach of debris and seaweed, then dumped it in the water with a bulldozer
·2 min read
A plastic bag floating in the ocean
Plastic bag floating in the seawater with some seaweed.Getty Images/Stock photo
  • A bulldozer in Denmark sweeps up seaweed and plastic from a beach and then releases it back into the water, according to video released by Danmarks Radio.

  • Environmental experts who spoke with Danmarks Radio described the process as "completely idiotic."

  • The process happens twice a week during the summer in Denmark.

A Denmark municipality has spent more than $150,000 a year to remove debris and seaweed from a beach only to dump it back into the water, according to Danish national broadcaster Danmarks Radio.

Video published by Danmarks Radio shows a bulldozer out in the water at Stillinge Beach in Slagelse, Denmark. The bulldozer blade lifts and appears to dump a slew of material and debris, which reportedly included plastic, into the water before coming back out to shore.

The bulldozer operator uses the rake and the blade to scoop up seaweed and plastic along the beach shore. When the collected debris fills the blade, the bulldozer heads out to the water, Danmarks Radio reported. The process happens twice a week during the summer in Denmark.

Environmental experts who spoke with Danmarks Radio described the process as "completely idiotic."

"I think it's stupid because what you do is scrape the seaweed off the beach with a big tractor that makes noise, and then you drive it into the water and deposit it, and then the tractor drives back ashore again," said Professor Torkel Gissel Nielsen, a faculty member at the National Institute of Aquatic Resources.

"And that means that what you have just thrown into the water is washed up on the beach immediately after," Nielsen added.

Deputy Mayor Villum Christensen defended the practice in an interview with Danmarks Radio.

He claimed plastic is not being swept up by the bulldozer but contended that cigarette buds and other small debris are.

"It will by and large be there anyway," Christensen said of cigarettes and other debris, according to Danmarks Radio. "The water comes and collects things and things with it, which drift out into the water again."

Christensen added that he wants Stillinge Beach to be "neat and clean."

News of the bulldozer beach-cleaning practice marks at least the second time experts have blasted Danish authorities over questionable environmental methods. Just in May, Danish officials dug up millions of dead mink despite a report from Denmark's own environmental agency warning that the process might release harsh contaminants.

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