A message in a bottle.
This is a picture of a Nivea bottle I found on my local beach a few weeks ago. I found a few of them at the same time so decided to get in touch with Nivea to find out what it's all about. They asked me to send them some samples so I went looking for more. I found them at Speke's Mill Mouth, Welcombe Beach and Peppercombe Beach in North Devon and at Constantine in North Cornwall.
Niva tell me that they lost a container from a ship in the Atlantic about a year ago but they don't know how many of these were lost. Well I can safely say it was at least 50 because that's how many I've found. I suspect it's a lot more. It could be thousands, or hundreds of thousands.
Nivea have been really good about communicating with me and I applaud them that. They also say that they have been in touch with Cornwall CC and the National Trust about cleaning up the beaches I mentioned to them. They said "if this escalates to larger numbers, that require an organized clean up operation, we are happy to work with local people to deal with the problem." My response to this was that it's easy to do this if there is a spill, but many pieces over a wider area makes it harder to sort out.
Again to their credit, Nivea responded with this: "The council have been told that we are prepared to pay if they need to send out a team of rangers to clean up NIVEA products." And then they added: "This is a very unusual case that we have not experienced before. This highlights the importance of your help to monitor this."
So I say, let's find their lost products for them. And perhaps remove them from the marine environment at the same time. If we let them remain there they will only do harm.
Will you help me?
Please, please. please. If you go to the beach this weekend and see one of these, take a picture with your phone (or gather them up and take a picture if there are many) and email it to the customer services people at Nivea on firstname.lastname@example.org stating where and when you found the items.Tweet it to me at @campervanliving too, if you have the time. That way we will be able to understand the impact that just one container of someone's products can have on our beaches.
Finally, a word about Nivea. They have been really good to respond and have admitted their responsibility so this is not a witch hunt. If we can prove to Nivea that their spill is significant enough to warrant paying for clean ups then maybe others will follow suit and help us to keep our beaches the way we like them.