Weston's beach is littered with plastic every day - We need YOU to make a stand and help build a cleaner coastline

PUBLISHED: 17:44 26 October 2017

Plastic bottles regularly find their way into the sea.

Plastic bottles regularly find their way into the sea.

Archant

Every piece of so-called 'disposable' plastic you have ever touched still exists on earth, and eight million tonnes of it is ending up in the oceans every year, killing already-endangered marine life and even ending up in the food chain. We want YOU to join our Cleaner Coastlines campaign which is launching today (Thursday).

The Cleaner Coastlines campaign begins this week.The Cleaner Coastlines campaign begins this week.

Half of the plastic dumped in the sea is single-use – a plastic straw, a condiment sachet, a takeaway box – and it is all adding to the growing debris at the bottom of the seas or floating on the waves to be swallowed by unsuspecting sea creatures.

Weston is being urged to lead the way and become one of the first places in the country to cut down on plastics and clean up the coastline – and we need you to get involved.

The Mercury is today (Thursday) launching an ambitious Cleaner Coastlines campaign, in conjunction with Weston’s Chamber of Commerce and North Somerset Council, and is urging businesses and individuals to make a stand against plastic.

We want Weston to receive Plastic-Free Coastline status from Surfers Against Sewage, a grassroots movement cleaning up UK beaches and working to prevent the world’s oceans becoming a plastic wasteland.

Over the coming weeks and months, the Cleaner Coastlines campaign will show how people can make small changes which will make a significant difference to the environment.

MORE: Join in with our beach clean event.

A chamber of commerce spokesman said: “Let’s make a stand and make Weston a plastic-free coastline, beautiful to look at and safe for our families and visitors to enjoy.”

Weston’s beaches are being littered with plastic every day – a recent beach clean found 80 per cent of the rubbish on it was plastic, which takes thousands of years to disintegrate.

Litter found on the beach in Weston. Picture: Jeff GeorgeLitter found on the beach in Weston. Picture: Jeff George

We want businesses to reduce the amount of single-use plastics they issue, and individuals, charities, schools and community groups to get involved too.

We can all do more to protect our seas and people are urged to ensure all plastic – and other items – are properly recycled, whether that is in the kerb-side collections, or by using the correct bins along the seafront.

Cllr Peter Bryant, executive member with responsibility for waste, said: “The amount of plastic every one of us uses daily is just unsustainable.

“Action must start with manufacturers and supermarkets who all have a responsibility to reduce unnecessary packaging. But we must all play our part too.

“Instead of buying bottled water and binning the bottle after a single use, why not invest in a re-usable bottle and drink tap water? And we can all choose to buy items with less packaging in the first place.”

The chamber wants businesses to reduce, if not completely stop, issuing single-use plastics as a matter of course. These include plastic straws and stirrers, plastic packaging for takeaway food and coffee cups and lids. These throw-away items are all finding their way onto Weston’s beach.

Its spokesman said: “Only recently the sewage leak which affected Weston will also have released untold (and some quite unsavoury) single-use bathroom plastics from the sewers into our waters.

“It would be the chamber’s ultimate goal not only for traders, fast food outlets, restaurants, bars, guest houses and hotels not to stock and issue such items, but also to encourage residents and visitors alike to refuse to use the single-use plastics which do so much damage to the environment and our lovely coastline.”

The whale art installation was created by WormWood Rocks using plastic collected on Weston's beach.The whale art installation was created by WormWood Rocks using plastic collected on Weston's beach.

The chamber is encouraging businesses to consider using sustainable and biodegradable alternatives, and only issue plastic straws, cutlery and bags when asked for, rather than as a matter of course.

The Mercury wants everyone in Weston to become a part of a plastics past – now it is up to you to get involved.

Everyone in Weston can make changes to keep our coastline free from plastic.

Over the coming weeks, the Mercury will be showcasing how businesses and individuals alike can make changes to ensure Weston achieves Plastic-Free Coastline Status.

A beach clean will take place on Sunday from 10am to noon, and people will be able to learn more about the campaign there.

To join in, simply meet outside the Tropicana for a safety talk.

You can also get involved from day one simply by becoming part of our Cleaner Coastlines Facebook group.

Join our campaign to keep Weston looking pristine and free from plastic. Picture: Shayne GillardJoin our campaign to keep Weston looking pristine and free from plastic. Picture: Shayne Gillard

Simply search for ‘Cleaner Coastlines: Weston and North Somerset plastic-free campaign’ where you will be able to share your ideas and pictures, and talk to people who are passionate about reducing plastic waste.

Throughout the campaign, the Mercury will be shining a light on what people are doing to avoid plastic, and the businesses which are reducing their single-use plastics.

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