Marine plastic pollution has sadly become synonymous with all coastal activities, from surfing to swimming, beach holidays to wildlife watching – it is simply an expected part of our experience. This is why marine plastic pollution, and specifically tackling society’s throwaway, excessive, single use or unnecessary plastics, is Surfers Against Sewage’s top priority.
It’s time that we re-wild our tidelines, restoring the natural mix of driftwood, cuttlefish bones and seashells rather than plastic bags, drinks bottles, straws and wet wipes. This year we will urge businesses and communities to dramatically reduce their plastic footprint by rethinking and innovating sustainable design, reuse, recycling and delivery systems.
This will be done through a new SAS project called Plastic Free Coastlines; a campaign and grassroots movement to engage and connect individuals, communities and businesses in the collective effort to reduce the flow of single use plastics into the marine environment.
Plastic Free Coastlines is a positive vision that our whole community can share and work towards together.
We invite you to join our community response to marine plastic pollution through initiatives such as the #BeachCleanBox and our increasingly popular community beach clean movement, which mobilises over 20,000 volunteers annually, delivering 110,000 volunteering hours worth £1 million to the UK coastline every year.
The key principles we will follow throughout our plastic pollution and marine litter projects include:
- Stopping marine plastic pollution at source.
- Creating a circular economy (reusing & recycling plastics) through extended producer responsibility and greater corporate accountability.
- Creating new legislation to protect the coastal environment from plastic pollution.
- Dramatically up-scaling plastic pollution education and volunteering opportunities amongst coastal communities and the general public.
We are delighted to be a founding member of the global #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement and Plastics Movement Alignment Process, which bring together hundreds of NGOs creating solutions to plastic pollution around the world.
We will use our Waves All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to bring together fellow NGOs, charities, campaigners and experts to urge politicians to explore and introduce the strongest possible policies to stop ‘plastic emissions’ into the environment. It’s crucial that governments adopt new policies and legislation to accelerate plastic pollution prevention at the necessary pace to stop our oceans succumbing to the threat. The chair of the Waves APPG, Steve Double MP, recently raised the important issue of deposit return systems with the Secretary of State for the Environment and we welcome the government’s proposal to set up an innovation fund to explore the development of a UK deposit systems to dramatically increase plastic bottle recycling rates and prevent this ‘throwaway’ plastic from polluting the marine and terrestrial environments.
Plastic Pollution Priority Projects for 2017 include:
Plastic Free Coastlines, Message In A Bottle, The Big Spring Beach Clean, The Autumn Beach Clean, The #MiniBeachClean, Plastic Free Schools, The Waves All Party Parliamentary Group, The Ocean Plastic Bottle Project.