Closer (UK)

‘By taking small steps, we can bring about real change’


Marine biologist Emily Stevenson, 23, has been litter-picking along the Cornish coast for years.

She says, “In the past couple of years we saw a real shift in people’s attitudes towards plastic use. Most people carried a reusable coffee cup and a bag for life. But the pandemic has also now created an environmen­tal crisis, as lots of us are using single-use PPE without realising the damage. Many single-use masks contain hard-to-recycle plastic, and disposable gloves are made from transparen­t light plastic.

“The recent images of littered nature spots have been tragic. Everyone has a part to play in saving the planet. Start with small changes – for example, if I see a group of unequipped picnickers, I’ll offer a bin liner. Or you could carry a bag the next time you’re on a walk to collect any litter you pass.

“By taking small steps, we can bring about real change. Since I began my litter-picking initiative, Beach Guardian, the bags of rubbish we collect has reduced significan­tly, because more people are doing their bit.

“There’s more plastic in the world’s oceans than ever before, but by starting small, you can change your local environmen­t, and that’s one step closer to a greener planet.”

● For more informatio­n on reducing waste and keeping our beaches clean – and to get involved – go to Beachguard­

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