Clean up action after large white lumps wash up on beaches

Substance on Sandsend beach. Picture by Peter Horbury
Substance on Sandsend beach. Picture by Peter Horbury

A clean up operation is needed to clear a strange substance that washed up on beaches from Sandsend to Cayton Bay yesterday.

The substance, in the form of large white lumps, was identified as paraffin wax which does not pose a risk to the public.

Unconfirmed sightings of the white lumps have so far been reported at various points along the coast from Sandsend in the north to Cayton Bay in the south.

Scarborough Borough Council is currently drawing up a plan for a clean-up after the substance in the form or large white lumps was washed up on the shoreline during the yesterday afternoon (Wednesday May 3).

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue identified the substance as paraffin wax, which is low risk to humans, animals and the environment. However, the council is advising sensible precautions for anyone coming across the white lumps when visiting the coastline.

A spokesperson for brigade said: "The substance poses no risk to the public however we would advise the public not to handle or ingest the paraffin wax."

Nick Edwards, Scarborough Borough Council Director said: "While the presence of paraffin wax on the coastline should not deter people visiting our beaches, we ask people to use common sense, not handle the substance and also keep dogs and children away from it.”

Following its established marine pollution response plans, council staff are carrying out inspections of all beaches in the borough today to get a full understanding of exactly where the substance has been washed up.

The information gathered will be used to put together an action plan for removing the substance from the shoreline. The council will then work with its partner organisations - North Yorkshire County Council and Maritime and Coastguard Agency to begin the clean-up before the end of the week.

While the council understands that people from communities along the coast may like to help with the clean-up operation, the council is not currently seeking assistance from volunteers.