Burnham-on-Sea's town council unanimously backs plastic-free coastline campaign
PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 December 2017
Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge Town Council has unanimously backed a motion to support the plastic-free coastlines campaign.
The environment scheme aims to reduce the amount of single-use plastics which commonly end washed up on beaches.
The move would see the use of cutlery, straws and food packaging significantly reduced.
Burnham has followed Weston Town Council’s lead after it unanimously supported the Surfers Against Sewage initiative in November. The Mercury launched its Cleaner Coastlines campaign so Weston can achieve plastic-free coastline status.
Mark Wakeling, from campaigning group Surfers Against Sewage, addressed councillors at a town council meeting and explained why it is important for Burnham beach to gain plastic-free coastline status.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive the full backing of the town council – this is the first step in trying to change people’s perceptions when it comes to single-use plastics. I frequently find straws, cups and food containers washed up on our beaches which is killing marine life, so we all need to do our bit to reduce the use of plastics.
“I grew up in this area and have been windsurfing in Burnham for 25 years so I have quite a big interest in keeping the sea clean.
“It is important to change people’s perceptions and get them thinking differently about recycling.”
The South West is the second worst region of the UK for plastics found washed up on beaches, which has increased by 10 per cent over the past year.
Burnham MP James Heappey also pledged his support to the Surfers Against Sewage scheme.
After joining the Friends of Burnham Beach on a beach clean, he spoke of his concern at the amount of plastic found on the beach, calling it ‘horrendous’.
In a letter of support to the town council, Mr Heappey wrote: “It is gut wrenching to see the amount of plastic that has obviously been pecked or bitten by birds or other marine life.
“Much of the plastic on the beach in Burnham originated locally and so by committing to the plastic-free coastline we can make a difference to marine life in our area. We will also be having a positive impact on the visitor experience in the town and it will be helpful in our pursuit of higher bathing water standards too.”