Saving our oceans
‘MORE PLASTIC THAN FISH IN OCEANS’
‘If no action is taken by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans,’ warned an MEP during the European Parliament vote to ban single-use plastics. The decision, which was backed by 571 to 53, was described by MEP Frédérique Ries as a ‘victory for our oceans’.
Plastic cutlery and plates, cotton buds, straws, drink-stirrers and balloon sticks are included in the ban, which is hoped to come into effect in 2021.
Public support against plastic pollution surged following David Attenborough’s Blue Planet, and the
UK’S recent Ocean Film Festival.
Increased media coverage and heightened public awareness also led to a record turnout for the Great British
Beach Clean. The four-day event in September attracted 15,000 volunteers, double that of 2017. Encouragingly, litter was down 16% year-on-year. However, volunteers still amassed a whopping 8,550kg of waste, with an average of 16 bottles and cans for every 100m stretch of beach.
It’s not just plastic bottles that are polluting the ocean, as record-breaking duo Stew Edge and Islay Symonette found out. While kitesurfing around Britain to raise funds for the Marine Conservation Society, they retrieved 20,000 pieces of litter, half of which was discarded fishing gear.
‘That was the most upsetting part for me,’ said Islay. ‘The beaches were covered in it – especially the remote ones around Scotland that you could only reach by boat. We found plastic gloves, discarded pots and thousands of pieces of broken up polypropylene rope.’
WANTED: 300 FEMALE CREW
Applications are now open for an all-female circumnavigation designed to raise awareness of plastics and toxics.
The 38,000-mile voyage, exxpedition, sets sail in October, and is looking for 300 women to crew the 30 legs of the voyage.
As well as taking part in scientific research, crew members are expected to contribute financially to the voyage, with legs varying between five and 23 days at sea.
‘The plastic pollution challenge our ocean faces is a global one,’ says expedition director and skipper Emily Penn, who recently returned from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – an accumulation of ocean plastic now twice the size of Texas.
‘This is our biggest project yet. We’re looking for amazing women with a passion to protect our ocean to come forward.’
To apply, visit www.exxpedition.com. No sailing experience is necessary.
Plastic and discarded fishing gear is blighting our coastline
Blue/ Ocean Film Festival