Glass beach: pollution turned beautiful

  • Image credit: Anna Pozharskaya
  • Image credit: Anna Pozharskaya
  • Image credit: Anna Pozharskaya
Date:8 February 2017 Author: Jorika Moore Tags:, , , ,

This is Russia’s kaleidoscope beach where nature has corrected man’s ugly pollution and turned it into a place of beauty. Glass beach on Ussuri Bay, near Vladivostok has been transformed after years and years of erosion which wore down the shards to tiny, jewel-like pebbles.

Once a Soviet-era dumping ground for truckloads of old glass bottles and porcelain, the relentless waves on the country’s Pacific coast have rounded and polished the debris. Nature has created a beach of gems which visitors pay to see. Glass beach is now a protected area sanctioned by the Russian government.

So how exactly did years of rhythmic pounding of the waves transform a former garbage heap into a glowing marvel and how did it manage to stay on the beach instead of getting pulled in by the waves,  you’re wondering? We’ll explain.

The water acts like a giant rock tumbler by churning ordinary glass over time until it’s polished. Glass is clarified with minerals which get dissolved in the salt water and stand the test of harsh weather conditions, ultimately aiding in the appearance (texture) of the glass. Could this be an act of poetic justice from mother nature ? Or can erosion in this sense be viewed as a long-term recycling solution for pollution?  Maybe.

As discovered across the worlds’ beaches – Russia’s glass beach is but only one of many. Fort Bragg beach in California was a dumping site in the 1940s. Now a beautiful glass beach. The Kauai island in Hawaii has a nearby lava network that traps and polishes the glass.  Bermuda has great sea glass from shipwrecks, hurricanes and bottles thrown in to the water. Puerto Rico’s Vieques is also known for it’s sea glass. Even established dumping grounds can, over time, become beautiful.

Next time you’re at your local beach have a look around – you might be surprised at what you can collect along the shoreline.

Here is what to look for:

Find a beach with rocks. Sea glass accumulates where rocks or gravel are more abundant. Look for a beach with many pebbles and you will likely find sea glass there.

Look for populated areas, best places to find sea glass are beaches close to a city. Areas with lots of sea traffic will produce a lot of waste. Look for a beach with heavy waves and winds, as this make for the best conditions to create sea glass. Best times of the year is between  autumn to spring where rough seas are expected as well as during a full moon, where tides will be stronger. Go at low tide – as this will be your best chance to find sea glass.

Found some sea glass? Now what to do with it. Once you collect a reasonable amount of sea glass, you can use the beautiful polished pieces to glass for various things – making your own jewellery, adding sea glass to common items for embellishment e.g. a photo frame or as decoration in your garden or pond.

Source: Siberian Times

Image credit: Anna Pozharskaya

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