If they weren’t so toxic you might think them rather pretty. Certainly the name enchants: mermaids tears. But these little pearls of glimmering plastic that litter our Cornish beaches in their thousands are Andy Cummins’s bête noire. “They are tiny plastic pellets that escape down storm drains from plastic factories. They don’t biodegrade, adsorb harmful chemicals and get eaten by wildlife, who mistake them for fish eggs.” Andy is campaign manager for Surfers against Sewage (SAS) and mermaids tears aren’t the only ‘seaside souvenirs’ that make him cross. Plastic bags, bottles, crisp packets, cigarette butts, fishing line and effluent, Andy hates the lot.