Scarborough coast cleanup following paraffin wax pollution


A scenic view of Scarborough shores – paraffin wax pollutes the location, cleanup along the coastline begins today. Photograph courtesy of GettyImages. 

By Emily Middleton

Mysterious white lumps were recently found along Scarborough’s beaches were identified by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue as paraffin wax.

The substance has a multitude of uses, ranging from candle making to vehicle lubrication and crayons.

Food-grade paraffin is commonly used in wax paper, cheese coatings and gives the shine on jelly beans.

The wax is relatively low risk to humans, animals and the environment, however Scarborough Borough Council has issued a warning for people visiting the coast to take “sensible precautions”.

Scarborough Borough Council Director Nick Edwards 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.”

Scarborough Borough Council’s tweet depicting the lumps of paraffin wax along its beaches

The wax deposits washed up on Wednesday 3 May, and the council launched an investigation on Thursday 4 May into all its beaches to assess where the lumps are and the extent of the pollution.

Large amounts of paraffin wax have been identified at Staithes, Runswick Bay, Sandsend, Robin Hoods Bay and Boggle Hole.

Smaller amounts have been found as far as Scarborough’s North Bay.

This information is being used to inform the clean-up crews, which will use both mechanical and “by hand” methods.

The council are not currently looking for volunteers to help with the cleanup.

The coast is open as usual but Scarborough Borough Council urge anyone visiting the coast to not handle the substance if they come across it.

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