Press release: Most bioplastics are “a load of rubbish” says plastic campaigners responding to MPs call to reduce use of plastics rather than replace it with bioplastics

The plastic pollution campaigning organisation, City to Sea, have today branded most bioplastics “a load of rubbish” in response to the Environment Select Committee’s call for a reduction in the use of plastics over other ‘false solutions’ such as most bioplastics.

The call comes as MPs launch a consultation on bioplastics and City to Sea have produced an ‘explainer’ video to help people understand the problems with bioplastics.

Responding, City to Sea CEO, Rebecca Burges, said:

“Bioplastics might sound good, but in reality, they are basically the same as plastic and don’t decompose in the way most people think they do. They often just end up as rubbish littering our streets, oceans and killing marine life. Bioplastics are a ‘false solution’ as they are single-use and there are extremely limited options to compost them. Ultimately, due the nature of when we tend to use bioplastics – as takeaway food containers and packaging – they end up in the bin and consequently as rubbish needing to be burned or landfilled.”

She continued, “Our advice at City to Sea remains that reducing the amount of single-use plastic we use is the only solution. Through the Refill campaign we’re working with thousands of food-to-go businesses to encourage them to move towards refillable options rather than switching to bio-plastics.”

City to Sea are now working with over 23,000 businesses in the food to go sector, including high-street chains like Pret and Costa and have seen a significant increase in the number of enquiries about bioplastics and compostables in recent month. Next week, City to Sea will be launching a free guide for businesses in the food-to-go sector – ‘Navigating disposables & reusables: a guide to reducing the impact of single-use packaging in the food-to-go sector’.

Please follow and like us:
error

Press release: 250,000 downloads of app aimed to tackle plastic pollution

City to Sea, the organisation behind the award-winning Refill campaign, are this week celebrating their Refill app being downloaded by more than 250,000 people. The free, location-based app connects people to places they can Refill their water-bottle for free. This stops people buying single-use plastic bottles and prevents millions of plastic bottles from entering our waste stream.

The Refill app is tapping into a growing concern about single-use plastic and the impact it has on our shared environment. App downloads have increased by 175% since the start of the year and the number of active users has increased by 422%. The app was recently trending at number 2 for travel apps on the android store.

The Refill campaign works by connecting people who are looking for water, with thousands of local business, transport hubs and public spaces where they can refill for free. Cafes, bars, restaurants, banks, galleries, museums and other businesses simply sign up to the app and put a sticker in their window – alerting passers-by that they’re welcome to come on in and fill up their bottle. There are now more than 23,000 Refill stations listed on app including organisations such as Starbucks, Pret, McDonalds and Costa Coffee along with thousands of independent businesses. City to Sea estimate Refill will have saved over 100 million single-use bottles from entering our waste stream by the end of 2019.

Lanie Sibley, Refill app, Digital Product Manager at City to Sea responded to the news saying, “It’s incredible to see how much the app has grown in the last 8 months. What started out as a local Bristol campaign has now grown to become an internationally used app for people looking to refill their water bottle over buying a plastic bottle. We continuously look for ways to make small changes to the app to for a more seamless experience. We recently redesigned the app for a cleaner look and feel based on feedback from our users and we have big plans for development over the next couple of months.”

The Refill app was named in the 10 best sustainable apps in Vogue, as one of the six apps to help you shop, eat and drink more sustainably in the Daily Telegraph and it was awarded GOLD at the Global Good Awards.

Please follow and like us:
error

Press release: Plastic campaigners celebrate Sainsbury’s removal of plastic tampon applicators from own-brand products

Responding to the news that Sainsbury’s has stopped producing and selling own-brand plastic tampon applicators, City to Sea’s Plastic Free Periods Campaigns Coordinator, Jasmine Tribe said,

“Sainsbury’s has taken a huge step in offering customers a real choice. People should be able to buy plastic free period products easily and affordably. It is up to retailers to offer this basic choice. Sainsbury’s has shown how easy it is to remove one of the most significant pieces of plastic from its period products. It’s time now for other retailers to go with the flow and scrap plastic applicators from their own-brand period products. With cardboard or reusable applicator alternatives on the market there is no excuse to keep offering the environmentally disastrous plastic applicators.

She continued, “The applicator however is only one part of the plastic found in period products. Most tampons and pads have plastic woven into the actual products. What we need is for manufacturers and retailers to come clean about how much plastic is in their products and then do all they can to remove this unnecessary plastics. On this front, all major supermarkets, including Sainsburys, have a lot of work to do.”

In 2010 a UK beach clean picked up an average of 23 menstrual pads and 9 tampon applicators per kilometre of British coastline. Each pack of ‘conventional’ pads contains the equivalent of 5 plastic carrier bags. Every day, 2.5 million tampons, 1.4 million pads and 700,000 pantyliners are wrongly flushed down UK toilets contributing to the problem of plastic pollution in the marine environment.

Please follow and like us:
error

Press Release: Welcoming the removal of mini toiletries from Holiday Inn hotels.

The plastic pollution campaigning organisation, City to Sea, are today celebrating the news that all hotels run by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) will remove mini toiletries from their rooms. The move will see hotels chains such as Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotels taking the small single-use plastic bottles out of its 843,000 rooms by 2021.

The news comes following the launch of City to Sea’s #PlasticFreeTravel campaign that seeks to make plastic-free travel easier and cheaper for holiday goers and includes working with hotels to encourage them to use refillable dispensers in bathrooms. Plastic pollution from holidays is a major issue with an estimated 40% surge in marine litter entering the Mediterranean during the summer months. Further research estimates that 980 tonnes of mini-plastic shampoo bottles are being dumped by British holidaymakers abroad each year – that’s equivalent to two-and-a-half Boeing 747s.

Responding to the news City to Sea founder Natalie Fee commented,

“This is fantastic news. Holiday Inn has taken a huge step in reducing their plastic footprint and in doing so are sending a message to the hotel industry that removing single-use plastic toiletries is a good business move as well as a sound environmental one. Concern for the environment is at an all-time high, with plastic pollution being top of the list, so they needed to take action to keep customers happy.”

She continued, “The pressure is really mounting now for those hotels who still give out these tiny bottles of shampoo. We’ve been working with hotel chains like Premier Inn who already have dispensers in their bathrooms, Marriott Hotels announced last year they were getting rid of them, and now we have Holiday Inn on board too. Any hotels that still using single-use miniatures need to catch up and get behind our plastic-free travel campaign.”

Please follow and like us:
error

PRESS RELEASE: Pressure mounts on government to provide plastic-free period products to schools  

Pressure mounts on government to provide plastic-free period products to schools 

In less than one weeks’ time, on July 15th, the government tender for brands to supply schools with period products closes. Currently there is no obligation for period products to be plastic-free, or for the supplier to offer reusables. Ensuring schools are provided plastic-free products could prevent the equivalent of 90 million plastic bags[1] flooding schools just months after the government challenged UK schools to go plastic-free by 2022 [2].

Plastic pollution campaigning organisation, City to Sea, are warning that there are only 7 days left to make sure all period products offered as part of the new Government initiative will be plastic-free. A statement was made by the Department of Education half way through the process in Schools Week saying that the successful bidder “will be required to offer environmentally-friendly sanitary pads as a minimum, and are encouraged to provide further environmentally-friendly options (such as menstrual cups or eco-friendly tampons)”.

The government urgently needs to clarify that the ambiguously phrased ‘environmentally-friendly’ includes plastic-free requirements and ensure that all disposable products offered are plastic-free, not just pads, and not just as an opt-in.  As a result, City to Sea are calling on the general public to sign a petition [3] to the Department of Education that requests they use joined up thinking in tackling social and environmental issues.  So far City to Sea have successfully gained the support of 30,000 people and over 100 teachers have signed a public letter to the Department of Education [4].

Rachel Carson, a Primary school teacher said: “There is a gaping hole in general understanding of the plastic problem and school is a great place to start making a difference. Providing plastic-free period products to combat period poverty seems like a golden opportunity to lift girls out of embarrassment and shame whilst simultaneously investing in their future. Plastics are derived from oil, so why the government would not make this a priority having recently declared a climate emergency, is beyond me.”

Jasmine Tribe, Plastic Free Periods campaigns co-ordinator said: “This is a key opportunity for our government to show that they’re serious about tackling plastic pollution. Joined up thinking is so vital when tackling social issues like period poverty and environmental issues like climate breakdown. 

She continued, “More pressure is needed now to make government clarify that ‘environmentally-friendly’ includes plastic-free requirements and ensure that all disposable products offered are plastic-free, not just pads, and not just as an opt-in. We cannot let the government miss this opportunity to provide a long term, financially and environmentally sustainable solution for students and the planet.”

END

Notes to Editor

1) Why is this so important? 

The government has made three promising commitments recently: 

It seems that departments in government are potentially putting our schools on a collision course with the green targets that they have set them. They are turning this momentous moment for women’s rights into an environmental disaster. By ensuring all period products in English schools are plastic-free the Department of Education will be supporting future generations and targets for all schools to be single use plastic free by 2022. 

This why City to Sea launched a 38 Degrees petition that has already received over 30,000 signatures. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/plastic-free-schools-need-plastic-free-periods#  

 

2) Further quotes available from social media influencers Flora Beverley and Sophie Hellyer and 2 additional teachers who have signed the letter. Please contact Jasmine@citytosea.org.uk  

 

3) About City to Sea  – City to Sea is an award-winning not-for-profit campaigning to prevent plastic pollution at source.  Through their fun, solutions-focused initiatives they are empowering individuals to make a difference in their communities, working with companies and retailers to help them tackle plastic pollution and reaching millions of people with our digital content and campaigns. They are behind award-winning campaigns like Refill, a campaign to connect people to free drinking water and Switch the Stick.  

 

City to Sea was founded by environmental campaigner, Natalie Fee in 2015. https://www.citytosea.org.uk/  

 

4) About Plastic Free Periods – City to Sea’s Plastic Free Periods campaign aims to prevent plastic pollution from our periods by a) mainstreaming reusable and plastic-free disposable products and b) raising awareness that no period products should be flushed. 

  

Plastic Free Periods was launched in 2017 with a video that was viewed over 3 million times in the few weeks after publishing on facebook 

  

In 2018 the campaign was featured on Women’s Hour, joined the Environmenstrual Coalition, ran online and offline events and reached 2 million people through the social media campaign. Our Women’s Hour slot saw sales from Honour Your Flow (reusable pads) triple in the 3 days following! 

  

In 2019 City to Sea secured funding for a nationwide, unbiased schools program, are investigating a pilot scheme in NHS Trusts and continuing to target retailers and manufacturers. 
 

5) Background information  

 

[1] Government estimates that “of the 1.7m pupils/students who are eligible to benefit from the scheme, we estimate that 1.1m will access this provision” https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/Attachment/78bdf755-9548-4261-b50e-30d4d3ae2a4b. The average person who has periods use 22 products per month and has 13 periods per year. A study by Natracare found the same plastic in a box of 14 period pads as 4 plastic bags. This means this scheme would use close to 23 million boxes of period products per year – or close to equivalent of 90 million plastic bags. 
 

 

[3] The petition is here:  

 

 

 

[5] Here in the UK a staggering 4.3 billion disposable menstrual products are used every year. Many people don’t realise that most period pads (including Always, Bodyform and most supermarket own-brands) can contain up to 90% plastic – the equivalent of 4 plastic bags per box of pads and 90 million plastic bags sent to schools in just 1 year! Most tampons also contain a thin layer of plastic. What’s more, although no period products should go down the loo, it’s estimated around 700,000 panty liners, 2.5 million tampons and 1.4 million pads are flushed down the toilet every day in the UK – many of which block our sewer systems and escape into our rivers and seas. 

 

In addition to the environmental benefits of providing plastic-free period products, a reusable product option provides immense cost savings over time and reduces ‘period poverty shame’ – those who require free products find it more dignified to do so every 2-10 years, as opposed to every month. Research shows that over a lifetime an individual can save up to 94% of what would have been spent on disposable products, by switching to reusable ones. 

Please follow and like us:
error

‘Seb, Polly Planet & their Ocean Quest’

It’s a big week here at City to Sea HQ, as one of our original team members, and now in-house photographer and filmmaker, Michelle Cassar launches her first book today, for World Oceans Day Seb and Polly Planet on their Ocean Quest, a children’s book raising awareness of solutions to the issue of plastic pollution.

It’s a stunningly illustrated, and already highly acclaimed adventure story aimed at children age 5+ and is designed to empower them to live with less plastic. Through the magical adventures of daring Seb, children will learn about the effects of plastic pollution, and what they can do to prevent it. Rather than focus on recycling, this book takes a fresh approach; concentrating on the other three Rs – refuse, reduce and reuse. As you know, we need to ‘turn off the tap’ if we really want to prevent plastic pollution.

A bit about Michelle…

Michelle has been living with plastic a lot less (PALL) since 2008, it wasn’t always easy #BeingPALL. At that time, only a handful of people had woken up to plastic pollution and were doing something positive and solution focused – Michelle was one of them. Despite having struggled with writing and it taking over six years for her to find the confidence to write a blog, she’s now putting her 10 years of experience into a book so she can inspire the next generation!

One of many stunning illustrations by Create’eve Illustration based in Cornwall.

Never one to shy away from an opportunity

Michelle brings fun into preventing plastic pollution. She’s also known as Hydro Harriet, the Mermaid with a Message, and isn’t afraid to sit on a toilet with her knickers down in the high street to raise awareness of the issue of plastic flushed down our loos. She’s managed to turn a serious issue into something that children will engage with and we couldn’t be prouder!

Inspiring and hopeful, Seb and Polly Planet brings to life the difference one person can make by saying no to single-use plastic. An empowering, practical and fun read that will help readers grasp just how important they are and how their actions really can change the world.

NATALIE FEE – AUTHOR, AWARD-WINNING CAMPAIGNER AND FOUNDER OF CITY TO SEA

A book for everyone

Seb and Polly Planet book will appeal to parents, carers, grandparents, aunties and uncles, eco-schools, educators, community groups, and anyone interested in plastic pollution and environmental issues, who want to empower children to make good choices. Who doesn’t like a good rollicking superhero story?!

SEB, POLLY PLANET AND THEIR OCEAN QUEST.

Michelle’s crowdfunding…

Launching with a pre-order of the book via Crowdfunder , Michelle hopes to raise the funds to get this book on the shelves for more children to be inspired by.

Proceeds from the sale of Seb and Polly Planet and their Ocean Quest will be donated to a number of organisations preventing plastic pollution. Naturally, City To Sea will be one of the beneficiaries alongside the brilliant Plastic Oceans, UK, founded by Jo Ruxton and widely known for their multi-award-winning film on Netflix, and Plastic Free July founded by Rebecca Pruiz which has encouraged millions of individuals to commit to reducing their plastic use, in over 170 countries worldwide.

We’ve ordered our copies, now you can pre-order yours via crowdfunder, to get this book and it’s timely message into the hands of children and their carers everywhere.

A funny, heart-warming story of a little girl discovering that her actions make a difference to the lives of the beautiful birds and animals that live in our oceans. This hopeful book shows children (and their parents and teachers!) how they can save marine wildlife by making different everyday choices to stem the flow of plastic pollution going into the sea. I can’t wait to buy it for all the children in my life!

AMANDA KEETLEY – FOUNDER OF LESS PLASTIC | AUTHOR OF PLASTIC GAME CHANGER
Please follow and like us:
error

Race to champion anti-plastics in Premier League kicks off in earnest

As Tottenham Hotspurs plays their first home game in their long-awaited new stadium this evening, anti-plastic pollution campaigners at City to Sea are celebrating the news as the start of race to champion the anti-plastic pollution movement in the sports sector.

The new stadium is being heralded for having green credentials such as the complete elimination of all plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery and all plastic disposable packaging that accompanies these items.  Equally, the club has a commitment to “to phasing out single-use plastics across all Club operations” as well as supporting school education programmes. These measures come alongside Newcastle United’s announcement this week that they will eliminate all plastic water bottles from their training ground saving an estimate 48,000 bottles a year.

Commenting ahead of the home game this evening against Crystal Palace, CEO of City to Sea, Rebecca Burgess said,

“The drive to eliminate plastic pollution by Premier League clubs is really kicking off this evening. Spurs have had this great opportunity through their new state of the art stadium to drive forward their efforts to eliminate plastic pollution at source. And it really feels like there is real competition now between the clubs for each to being doing more. This is a welcome competition. While each club are taking their own different steps forward, it is important to say that any action to tackle this problem is welcome. At City to Sea we can work with top clubs to help them go further faster.

Increasingly I think clubs are seeing that they can offer fans truly memorable match days experience without producing mountains of plastic pollution. With more than eight million tonnes of plastic thrown away each year, with much of it being washed out to sea, this is something that all clubs need to tackle.”

Photo by Nathan Rogers on Unsplash.

Please follow and like us:
error
European Union Flag

European Union To Ban Single-Use Plastics By 2021 

Last week the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to support earlier proposals from the European Commission to cut plastic waste, targeting, in particular, the single-use plastics that are most commonly found polluting Europe’s beaches and seas.  

The vote by MEPs paves the way for a ban on single-use plastics to come into force by 2021 in all EU member states.  

The Single-Use Plastics Directive, which if adopted in full would come into force in 2021, would see a ban on selected single-use products including: cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, sticks for balloons, as well as cups, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene and on all products made of oxo-degradable plastic across all 28 member states. 

As an organisation, our focus has always been on preventing marine plastic pollution so we welcomed this Directive as “the biggest shift we have ever seen in eliminating” plastic pollution at source 

As well as banning certain items the Directive would force all Member States to: 

  • Take measures to reduce consumption of food containers and beverage cups made of plastic and specific marking and labelling of certain products. 
  • Extend Producer Responsibility schemes covering the cost to clean-up litter, applied to products such as tobacco filters and fishing gear. 
  • Implement a 90% separate collection target for plastic bottles by 2029 (77% by 2025) and the introduction of design requirements to connect caps to bottles, as well as target to incorporate 25% of recycled plastic in PET bottles as from 2025 and 30% in all plastic bottles as from 2030. 

Responding to the Directive, Natalie Fee, our founder commented.

“This is biggest shift we have ever seen in eliminating plastic at source – the EU has set a precedent we hope the UK and the rest of the world will follow. It’s time for companies to wake up and take action if they want to keep trading and selling inside the biggest market in the world, they need to get serious about stopping plastic pollution. Ultimately, we’d like to see a shift towards organisations looking at reusable alternatives to some of the pointless plastics that are hard to recycle and polluting our oceansThe refill revolution is happening – it’s time to get on board.” 

The European Commission estimates that as well as tackling the most common forms of plastic pollution found on beaches the Directive will:  

    • Avoid the emission of 3.4 million tons of CO2 equivalent; 
    • Avoid environmental damages which would cost the equivalent of €22 billion by 2030;
    • Save consumers a projected €6.5 billion.  

So what’s next for Europe?  

The proposals still need to receive a final adoption at the Council of Ministers before the Member States will be given two years to transpose the legislation into their national law. 

But what about Brexit?  

Regardless of what happens with Brexit, the UK is almost certainly going to be obliged to implement the Directive’s proposals. The UK government has repeatedly claimed that they will match or where economically practicable exceed the Directive’s ambition.  

We’ll be watching closely to make sure this happens and will keep you updated. In the meantime, find out what you can do to reduce single-use plastics here 

Please follow and like us:
error

First ever global commitment to tackling single-use plastic 

This week saw the first ever global commitment by national governments towards curtailing the surging consumption of single-use plastics. The pledge happened at the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi in Kenya.

 The non-binding declaration sets out plans to curb items like plastic bags, bottles and straws over the next decade. However, the initial wording put forward by the Indian delegation to commit to “phasing-out the most problematic single-use plastic products by 2025” was heavily watered down by a USA led group. The final text committed states to “significantly reduce” single-use plastics by 2030. 

 Our Founder, Natalie Fee broadly welcomed the commitment saying:  “This is a huge first step towards a global solution to a global problem. It was heartening to see real action plans being backed by the majority of the countries represented, but the proof will be in the delivery of these plans. With the last-minute watering down of the proposals, we’ll now be watching closely to make sure that these very first steps are implemented and acted upon.”

 She did however also join other environmentalists in expressing her disappointment in the watering down of the agreement saying:  “I was also disappointed to see how a small minority led by the United States blocked the more ambitious parts of the text and delayed negotiations. If we’re going to tackle this global problem the United States needs to join the growing consensus around tackling plastic pollution and stop pumping money into the fracking industry that fuels the plastics industry. What was agreed last Friday needs to be seen as a minimum standard that we expect of governments and we can and must do more. Change is happening but we need people, councils and businesses to keep pushing to go further faster. With 8 million pieces making their way into our oceans each day [3] our fragile planet can’t afford any more delays.”

Find out more about how you can take action on plastic pollution here. 

Please follow and like us:
error

Scotland’s first International Marine Conference!

This February the Scottish government launched their first ever International Marine Conference, bringing together representatives from more than 10 other nations. Our campaign co-ordinator Jasmine was there to get the low down and find out what we can learn from Scotland.

Kicking off the conference was Scotland’s First Minister – Nicola Sturgeon, reminding everyone present of the importance of the ocean to Scotland – which actually accounts for 8% of Europe’s total coastline! The marine environment surrounding Scotland has huge importance for globally significant species, for tourism and for offshore wind and tidal power.

The first day of the International Marine Conference focused on Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) and Blue Carbon – two areas in which Scotland is trying to show leadership. Under the Convention on Biodiversity there are global obligations to protect 10% of the world’s oceans by 2020. Demonstrating their commitment to ocean health Scotland are already protecting 22% of their territorial waters and are aiming for even more. Dr Sarah Cunningham from Scottish National Heritage highlighted that MPA’s must now have flexible boundaries and management across regions, in order to account for the movement of species and habitats in response to climate change.

Scotland is the only country to have made a national marine carbon inventory, looking at how the marine environment can help reduce global greenhouse emissions. Scottish peatlands and fjords store a huge amount of carbon, some of which has been locked in these environments since the ice age, so it’s vital to carefully manage these areas!

Image: JNCC

The second day of the conference was focused on marine litter, where Scotland are also spearheading the way in some areas of policy and planning. As Cabinet Secretary Rosanna Cunningham pointed out:

We’re an innovative species… we’re the ones who invented plastic in the first place! It’s time to solve this problem which we ourselves created.”

Scottish government have banned microplastic in personal care products, will be banning plastic stemmed cotton buds from the summer of 2019, have 300 sea vessels signed up to the Fishing for Litter scheme, and have just released the results of their consultation on a Deposit Return System (where England and Wales are only just opening a consultation to the public). Being the first government in the UK to supply free period products to students, we were very excited to hear that the government is also working to promote reusable menstrual products with Zero Waste Scotland! Great news for Plastic-Free Periods!

Lewis Pugh – Patron of the Oceans UN Environment Committee – swam an inspirational 1km across the north pole (which should be covered in ice) to send a message to global leaders about climate change. As a keynote speaker at the conference Lewis spoke of the importance of belief and absolute commitment to achieving a goal:

When we think about the environment we’ve been diving in with thoughts of victory and defeat at the same time. You cannot confuse your subconscious by preparing for success and defeat simultaneously. Chose success – there is nothing more powerful than a made-up mind.”

The International Marine Conference was full of fascinating researchers, inspiring campaigners and grassroots groups made up of people whole-heartedly committed to protecting our oceans for generations to come. Here are just a few of them who stood out for their dedication and passion for the cause:

The Marine Conservation Society and Our Ladys RC Primary School

During her ocean outreach work Catherine Gemmell from MCS met the ambitious year 3 students at Our Ladys RC school. After Catherine’s workshop these inspired students created a campaign called Wild Bottle Sighting Alert! In collaboration with MCS they encouraged anyone who found a littered water bottle to report it on the Wild Bottle Sightings map, helping to raise the profile of plastic bottle pollution and collect valuable data. This campaign was used to send a message to Scottish politicians about why a Deposit Return scheme is so vital. Scotland’s mini rockstars!

School twitter: @OurLadysRRS

  • Fidra

Fidra have been working to reduce plastic pollution from cotton buds for years. They’re a great example of how working with industry rather than targeting policy makers or consumers, can be the way to reach the heart of product issues. One of the reasons our Switch the Stick campaign was so successful was thanks to the behind the scenes work from Fidra, and now Scotland will be banning plastic cotton bud stems this summer!

Zsuzsa and Gerry are both advertising professionals who have worked for Coca-cola, Irn Bru, Honda, Tesco and MasterCard. Luckily for the planet, this committed couple have now turned their talents to anti-littering campaigns in Scotland, with amusing, memorable and award-winning results! Check out their visual campaigns here.

  • Rune Gaasø and Clean Shores

Geologist Rune Gaasø is working with Eivind Bastesen and Clean Shores to identify, log and remove plastic from an entire island off the west of Norway. Currents have washed litter ashore on this island probably since plastic was invented, so it will be a fascinating study. The litter is meters deep and on one dig they found plastic bottles from the UK, remnants of a light bulb from the Netherlands and a chip packaging from Germany. Hats off to Rune and Eivind for mobilising their communities and taking ambitious clean up action that highlights the extent of our plastic pollution problem!

A few years ago Sunnyside’s oldest student group made a photography calendar with David Yarrow about anti-rhino and elephant poaching, they campaigned to get the council to turn their heating down by 2 degrees and campaigned against cetaceans being held in captivity. When it was time for the class to leave primary school, the projects weren’t finished and so they passed them down to the rest of the school to continue taking action towards a more sustainable world. Each year group now focuses on one conservation theme and have since raised money for bears and lions rescued from circuses, become recycling champions and designed light-switch stickers to remind people to switch off their lights and save energy!

As well as passion, successful ocean conservation requires a global and political sharing of resources to allow developing countries to skip straight to best practise. We need to stop reinventing the wheel and start urgently implementing the policies, practises and projects that we know work. This inspiring conference suggested that Scotland fully intend to lead the way in trialling solutions on a small-country scale, which hopefully can be rolled out globally moving forward.

Amidst fears around how our government will act on environmental concerns after leaving the European Union, Nicola Sturgeon re-aussured us that

“… despite Brexit, Scotland is going to continue to maintain EU environmental standards, and to work with partners across the globe.”

We shouldn’t accept anything less from English and Welsh governments. In fact, if Scotland can do it we can’t see any reason why our small island countries of England, Wales and Northern Ireland can’t also follow suit with measures like the Deposit Return System and banning cotton buds.

Sometimes waiting for strong leadership from powerful people makes us feel powerless. Here are some things we can all do to fight for a healthy planet for future generations:

We left Scotland’s International Marine Conference feeling inspired and hopeful, and look forward to working collaboratively for a year of bold action from politicians, community groups and businesses alike!

Please follow and like us:
error