Plastic in our oceans: a local response

With BBC’s Blue Planet II airing this Sunday, Sir David Attenborough has called for a worldwide cutback on the use of plastics.

Currently there are over 8 million tonnes of plastic dumped into the ocean each year, which is equivalent to 2 billion plastic bottles a day. The problem of plastics in our ocean is so great that researchers have found that a third of all fish caught, bought and sold in the UK contain plastic fragments, predominantly at a microscopic level.

With the problem of plastic as great as it is, it seems that the devastation of ocean life is inevitable. However, as Sir David Attenborough states “adopting an optimistic outlook is the only way forward.” In that light, EN4 News have been speaking with local action group Surfers Against Sewage to find out how we can all help protect our oceans.

Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) have been combating plastic in our oceans since their inception in 1990. They organise beach cleaning days throughout the UK, provide cleaning equipment and help to raise awareness. The group recently cleaned Edinburgh’s Crammond beach and EN4 News spoke to event organiser Morven Sneddon to ask her how plastic pollution is impacting Scottish sea life.

She highlighted that whilst Scottish pollution is significantly better than a lot of areas throughout the UK, it is still a significant issue that will only grow get worse in the future if we don’t act to prevent it now:

I think Scotland maybe isn’t as bad as other parts of the world but it definitely is a problem and will become a bigger problem in the future.

Miss Sneddon also said that in order to reduce the level of plastic in our ocean there needs to be a change in our attitude surrounding waste:

People need to care and it’s also about laziness. I walk in Edinburgh and I see people just throwing things on the street. People don’t think to put it in a bin, or recycle, and it’s really not that hard. Especially if there’s bins nearby, and it really comes down to whether that person has the motivation to recycle or to put things in the bin.

The next SAS beach clean is going on today at Portobello beach from 11 am – 4 pm, so if you want to be involved and to get less melamine in your mackerel in the future, grab your best pair of rubber gloves and get stuck in.

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