Aquar­i­ums sign up to beat plas­tic pol­lu­tion

Devon Life - - Upfront -

Torquay’s Liv­ing Coasts and Ply­mouth’s Na­tional Ma­rine Aquar­ium have signed up to a new global move­ment to raise aware­ness about plas­tic pol­lu­tion.

The coali­tion goes un­der the ban­ner of “World aquar­i­ums #Ready­tochange to #Beat­plas­ticpol­lu­tion”.

The aim is to set a good ex­am­ple over the use of plas­tics and to en­cour­age changes in be­hav­iour.

Liv­ing Coasts was the first aquar­ium in the UK to sign up.

The coastal zoo and aquar­ium stopped sell­ing sin­gle-use plas­tic drinks bot­tles in 2017.

The new move­ment, launched at the fifth #Ouro­cean con­fer­ence, held in Bali, has signed up 163 aquar­i­ums from 33 coun­tries, in­clud­ing 63 from 20 EU coun­tries.

There are 26 from the USA, 17 from France and 10 from Spain. It’s hoped the num­ber will in­crease to 200 by 2019.

Liv­ing Coasts cu­ra­tor Clare Rugg says: “Liv­ing Coasts en­gages vis­i­tors on the is­sue of plas­tics in the ocean in many ways, shar­ing facts and fig­ures dur­ing talks, pro­vid­ing ed­u­ca­tion ses­sions for chil­dren, cre­at­ing dis­plays of plas­tic lit­ter found on lo­cal beaches and work­ing with part­ners in the Tor­bay Cleaner Coasts Ini­tia­tive to col­lect coastal lit­ter. We stopped sell­ing sin­gle use plas­tic bot­tles on site and are mov­ing to re­duce plas­tics on the site wher­ever pos­si­ble.

“Plas­tic pol­lu­tion is such an im­por­tant mes­sage – we have a duty to help our guests, staff and vol­un­teers un­der­stand and hope­fully change their be­hav­iour and make a dif­fer­ence.”

Aquar­i­ums are pledg­ing to change their pro­cure­ment poli­cies, for ex­am­ple in res­tau­rants and shops, to elim­i­nate all sin­gle use plas­tic items. They will also be en­cour­aged to ally with po­ten­tial part­ners, spon­sors, fun­ders and NGOS to max­imise im­pact by pro­mot­ing best prac­tices in be­havioural change on a lo­cal, re­gional, na­tional and global scale.

The Na­tional Ma­rine Aquar­ium in Ply­mouth is also com­mit­ted to help re­duce the amount of plas­tic it uses, and par­tic­u­larly in re­duc­ing the amount of sin­gle use plas­tics. Its Ocean Gift Shop has re­moved all sin­gle use plas­tic stock, plas­tic bags, plas­tic stands, plas­tic shelves and is re­duc­ing the amount of multi-use plas­tic stock it sells. The Waves Café no longer sells sin­gle use plas­tic. All cups and bot­tles are glass or corn starch, and all sin­gle use sa­chets and con­tain­ers have been re­placed with sus­tain­able op­tions.

Roger Maslin, CEO of the Na­tional Ma­rine Aquar­ium, said: “As a ma­rine con­ser­va­tion and ed­u­ca­tion char­ity, our fo­cus is to con­nect peo­ple with our Oceans. The Oceans are vi­tally im­por­tant to the health of our planet and it is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly im­por­tant for peo­ple to un­der­stand the ef­fects of plas­tics on them.

“We are ex­tremely proud to be a part of this world­wide aquar­ium col­lab­o­ra­tion and it’s fan­tas­tic to see peo­ple mak­ing pro-ocean be­hav­iour changes, and the in­creas­ing aware­ness of their re­spon­si­bil­ity to care for this vi­tal re­source through aquar­i­ums work and cam­paigns.”

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