Surfers Against Sewage is working at community, corporate and government level to tackle the marine litter crisis. The recent publication of SAS’s Marine Litter Report sets out our vision to reduce UK beach litter by 50% by 2020. The report highlights the true scale of the marine litter crisis; the underlying causes and the threat marine litter poses to ecosystems, marine organisms and communities. The report also maps out practical and achievable solutions across industry, government and communities to increase action for much cleaner and safer beaches by 2020.
The catalyst for SAS’s ambitious target is the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), Europe’s current key piece of legislation supporting the protection and sustainable use of the marine environment. Over the next five-year period (2015 – 2020), SAS will collaborate with government, charities, scientists, industry, communities and individuals to work towards this radical target.
Surfers Against Sewage believes that the UK urgently needs to do more to tackle marine litter and that the MSFD offers an unprecedented opportunity for collaboration, coordination and action on the issue over the next six years. The appetite amongst coastal communities, business leaders and organisations seeking stronger and more ambitious leadership on solutions seems to be at all-time high.
Surfers Against Sewage’s Marine Litter Report offers a framework of practical and achievable solutions to help achieve significant reductions in beach litter during the MSFD timeframe. Covering community, business and government action SAS’s recommendations broadly focus on the following measures:
- Stopping marine litter at source – preventing it entering the environment in the first place
- Creating a circular economy through extended producer responsibility and greater corporate accountability
- Creating new legislation to protect the coastal environment from marine litter
- Dramatically up-scaling marine litter education and volunteering opportunities amongst coastal communities and the general public.
Nationwide delivery of SAS beach cleans helps directly remove marine litter from the environment and raises public awareness about the issue and available solutions. Annually, SAS mobilises 10,000 community beach clean volunteers and educates thousands of individuals about the marine litter crisis through schools talks and outside events. The charity also distributes marine litter campaign materials to hundreds of businesses throughout the UK each year to help them combat the crisis with us.
Surfers Against Sewage’s longer-term environmental initiatives including Return To Offender, Break the Bag Habit, Think Before You Flush and No Butts on the Beach aim to stop marine litter at source, which is vital in protecting the UK’s beaches by shutting down the flow of debris into our oceans, particularly single-use plastics.