Search for Loch Ness Monster Nets 100,000 Golf Balls

Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Golf and the Loch Ness Monster: these two symbols of Scotland collided in an environmentally disastrous way this month when scientists searching for Nessie found 100,000 golf balls instead.

"From the moon to the bottom of Loch Ness, golf balls are humanity's signature litter in the most inaccessible locations,” U.K. lawmaker Patrick Harvie told CNN.

And though the golf balls left on the moon by astronauts back in 1971 would have dissolved a long time ago, here on Earth, golf balls take much longer to decompose — and they release a high quantity of heavy metals in the process.

The core of golf balls contain dangerous levels of zinc, which attaches itself to ground sediment and poisons surrounding plants and wildlife.

Torben Kastrup Petersen, course manager for the Danish Golf Union, says the full impact of golf ball pollution is unknown. About 300 million golf balls are lost or discarded every year in the United States alone.

“There has been very little research on the environmental impact of golf balls, but it's safe to say the indicators are not good. We are planning to collaborate with environmentalists in America to conduct more tests to fully explore the extent of the problem.”