Pollution fears are mounting at one of Pembrokeshire's Blue Flag beaches following sightings of plastics washed up on the shore.

The first sightings were made earlier in the week when visitors to Poppit Sands in St Dogmaels noticed shredded plastic mixed in with seaweed on the tide-line.

But by Saturday morning, June 17, the amount of plastic washed up on the shore had increased substantially with one new tide-mark made up entirely of what appeared to be shredded plastic.

"Initially it appeard to be what looked like toilet paper but then surely that would have dissolved quickly?" said Martin Heuter.

"It was beigy-white in colour and looked like string, around 1 cm wide.

"I'm not an expert but it looked and felt like plastic."

Similar plastic deposits have also been seen on Patch, which is the beach directly opposite to Poppit on the north shore of the Teifi estuary.

While Martin Heuter is convinced that what he saw was plastic, others are suggesting it was bleached seaweed.

"When I saw it, it was just after high tide and there had been some rain in the night so I can't quite work out how it could have been bleached seaweed," he said.  

"I've had seaweed in my hands in the past and I know how rubbery it feels, but this was nothing like what I've seen and felt before."

Locals are also concerned at the amount of plastic which can be found elsewhere along the beach.

"It you sit down and rummage in the sand, the news isn’t good," commented St Dogmaels resident and 'Save the Teifi' campaigner, Piers Partridge.

"You’ll find a confetti of micro plastics, nurdles - which are rice-sized plastic grains which the plastics industry produce when they bulk-ship plastic around the world - and green plastic twine from fisherman.

"As an ‘indicator species’ of what micro plastic is being washed up on our beaches, what we’re finding at Poppit points to an exponential increase on our shores.

"The sea is telling us stuff we need to know."

Naturally the plastics can be easily ingested by dogs, while birds are also at risk of becoming entagled in the twine and the lengths of plastic.

The recent findings come just weeks after Poppit was granted the Blue Flag status for its water quality and environmental standards.

However this decision haas been questioned after official figures recently showed that Poppit had been soiled by sewage discharge on no fewer than 79 separate occasions in 2022. The figures, released by the Environment Agency, said this amounted to a total of 1,519 hours.

“We have real concerns about this Blue Flag marker as it suggests that Poppit has an absolutely trustworthy standard for swimmers, surfers and everyone else who goes into the sea,” continued Piers Partridge.

“But they need to clarify what this actually means. Last year Poppit was named as the worst Blue Flag beach in the whole of the UK with 79 sewage dump incidents.”

Mr Partridge says he and others who visit Poppit Sands on a regular basis, fear that the sub-standard conditions will continue throughout 2023.

Large clumps of a brown-sludgy foam have been seen floating off the Poppit shoreline, which suggests high levels of phosphates in the water and dead birds have also been seen along the shoreline.

 “It’s hard to be sure what’s going on in these waters, but far more testing needs to be done, particularly in light of last year’s results,” said Piers Partridge.

“And far more information needs to be made available.”

This weeked's plastic findings have now been reported to Natural Resources Wales, Pembrokeshire County Council and Welsh Water.