Cornwall LivingIssue #75
Preventing plastic pollution
Introducing Surfers Against Sewage, a national marine conservation and campaigning charity.
Surfers Against Sewage is a charity that unites and empowers communities to take action and protect oceans, beaches, waves and wildlife. Head of Community and Engagement Dom Ferris tells us: “We’ve made great progress on cleaning up our beaches from sewage, and although the cleanliness of our seas remains in the DNA of the organisation, our new ‘sewage’ is plastic pollution. Plastic pollution has sadly become synonymous with any coastal activity, from surfing to swimming, beach holidays to wildlife watching – it’s simply an expected part of our experience, but one we cannot and should not accept.”
“Our campaign for the 5p plastic carrier bag charge led to an 80% decrease in the number of plastic bags used in England…”
In 1950, the world’s population of 2.5 billion produced 1.5 million tons of plastic; in 2016, over 7 billion people produced more than 320 million tons, and this is set to double by 2034. There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean, which can take hundreds (if not thousands) of years to degrade. But there is hope. Plastic is tangible; it’s an issue that even the smallest action can result in direct improvement. SAS’ Plastic Free Coastlines vision has led to the creation of a number of easy-to-access projects to tackle the issue at all levels of society, through schools, communities and government.
The recent Big Spring Beach Clean event saw over 35,000 inspiring individuals head to beaches, rivers, canals, marinas and lakes across the UK, removing a staggering 63 tonnes of marine plastic pollution. SAS also currently have over 300 villages, towns and cities across the UK working towards becoming Plastic Free Communities. Nationally, more change needs to happen, however SAS already have a presence in government, Dom explains: “We lobby and work with government and industries to curb throwaway plastic culture. Our campaign for the 5p plastic carrier bag charge led to an 80% decrease in the number of plastic bags used in England, and our petition for a Deposit Return Scheme for bottles, glass and cans received over 300,000 signatures and was recently accepted by the Government.”
Globally, SAS are collaborating with like-minded organisations across the world to build a worldwide movement to change attitudes, behaviours and to build a reverse throwaway plastic culture.
For more information on all SAS campaigns, environmental initiatives and opportunities to get involved, please visit the Surfers Against Sewage website.
"Our campaign for the 5p plastic carrier bag charge led to an 80% decrease in the number of plastic bags used in England..."