SWWRF’s belated Christmas event took place at Taurus Crafts, Lydney in Gloucestershire on Wednesday 6th March with passionate guest speakers informing us on inspiring campaigns being undertaken locally, nationally and internationally to tackle the topical issues of marine plastics.
Marine plastics is a global issue with over 300 million tons of plastic being produced worldwide every year and eight million tonnes of this plastic ending up in our oceans annually, and make up 80% of all marine debris from surface waters to deep-sea sediments.
Whilst the scale of our plastic crisis is alarming it was encouraging to hear about schemes being undertaken by committed volunteers, local authorities, consultancies and entrepreneurs to help fight our war on marine plastic.
The event kicked off with a marine biologist from Mott Macdonald providing a comprehensive overview of the marine plastic issue with the impacts on wildlife and the bioaccumulation of micro-plastics in sea animals and humans. Insight on mitigation measures was provided with examples of how he and the consultancy’s engineers are working with water companies to extract plastics prior to getting to sewers and water treatment facilities.
An international perspective was provided on marine plastic issues in the developing world from a consultant from Resource Futures. This provided delegates an understanding of how lack of waste collection facilities impacts on plastics pollution and the amount of investment that is required in the developing world to capture more plastics preventing them polluting our oceans and environment.
Exeter City Council highlighted the importance of empowering volunteers though campaigns and volunteer work helping to clean beaches across the south west. This campaign has removed over 170 tonnes of plastic from our beaches with over 80% of materials being captured being recycled. Additionally, encouraging partnership work is being undertaken with university research departments to increase the range of plastics that can be recycled.
The founders of the Beach Guardians community action group reinforced the power of community action groups, but also showed how through determination they made changes on a national scale such as influencing plastic policy changes in parliament and encouraging international brands to do more to recycle their packaging though deposit return schemes.
Finally, Wrag Wrap highlighted how festive season indulgence doesn’t have to cause wastefulness enlightening delegates on their re-usable wrapping paper product and how this can help spread valuable messages around reducing the amount of packaging and waste we all produce.
This proved to be another successful event and we look forward to seeing you at our future events, which will be announced shortly.