Nestlé’s plastic monster spews pollution at company’s U.S. headquarters

Washington, DC – Greenpeace activists joined a 15-foot tall monster in a visit to Nestlé’s U.S. headquarters in Arlington, VA today (link to be updated with photo and video), delivering Nestlé plastic pollution gathered from streets, rivers, and beaches across the country and demanding that Nestlé take responsibility for the over 1.5 million metric tons of single-use plastic it produces annually. The delivery was part of a global day of action against the company, which includes activities in Switzerland, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Canada, and the Philippines.

“It’s time for Nestlé to end its reliance on single-use plastics and move toward systems of reuse,” said Greenpeace Plastics Campaigner Kate Melges, who helped return the plastics to the company. “Nestlé has created a monster by producing endless quantities of throwaway plastics that persist in our environment for lifetimes. It’s time for the company to own its mess and stop pushing false solutions that will never solve this crisis.”

At Nestlé’s U.S. headquarters, activists arrived at the building alongside the monster, and asked to speak with a company representative. The monster then repeatedly spewed Nestlé plastic pollution gathered from across the country. Activists left the building, leaving behind the plastic pollution for the company to take responsibility for.

Nestlé has started to acknowledge the impact of its throwaway plastics in recent months, but has failed to act with the urgency or ambition needed to address its role in the global plastic pollution crisis. Nestlé was named one of the worst three plastic polluters following 239 cleanups and brand audits in 42 countries last October. The company was also named the worst plastic polluter following 2017 and 2019waste and brand audits in the Philippines. Nestlé sells non-recyclable sachets throughout Southeast Asia that frequently end up polluting waterways and our oceans.

Earlier in the day, activists accompanied a 65-foot long and 20-foot high monster to Nestlé headquarters in Switzerland, demanding accountability for its global plastic pollution. The action in Switzerland followed a 7-week long Greenpeace ship tour from the Philippines to Unilever headquarters in the Netherlands, and then on to Nestlé. The tour has called attention to the impacts of companies like Unilever and Nestlé’s plastic pollution, particularly to communities in the Global South.

“The consequences of Nestlé’s heavy reliance on sachets and single-use plastic packaging, especially in the Global South, can no longer be denied,” said Von Hernandez, global coordinator of the Break Free From Plastic movement. “It is unconscionable for a multibillion dollar company to be shifting the burden of what is essentially unmanageable waste to developing countries, and then argue that they are trying to help the poor. We never asked for this pollution, and we never wanted to see our oceans ravaged by throwaway plastic. We want Nestlé to be accountable and clean up its act by reducing its plastic footprint and investing in alternative delivery systems immediately.”

Greenpeace activists joined a 15-foot tall monster in a visit to Nestlé’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia delivering Nestlé plastic pollution gathered from streets, rivers, and beaches across the country and demanding that Nestlé take responsibility for the over 1.5 million metric tons of single-use plastic it produces annually. “It’s time for Nestlé to end its reliance on single-use plastics and move toward systems of reuse,” said Greenpeace Plastics Campaigner Kate Melges, who helped return the plastics to the company. “Nestlé has created a monster by producing endless quantities of throwaway plastics that persist in our environment for lifetimes. It’s time for the company to own its mess and stop pushing false solutions that will never solve this crisis.

Last week, activists interrupted the company’s AGM by confronting executives with plastics found polluting the world’s oceans. Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan urged Nestlé executives and shareholders at the AGM to show true leadership to solve the plastic pollution crisis, stating:

“People can see with their own eyes the damage plastic pollution is doing to our oceans, waterways and communities. We’ve all witnessed the way plastic is contaminating our precious biodiversity and are only just beginning to understand how it is impacting us … It’s time for Nestlé to really take some responsibility for the magnitude of its contribution to the problem: it must be transparent and put forward a concrete action plan, with ambitious timelines, on how to reduce the production of throwaway packaging and invest in truly sustainable refill and reuse delivery systems.”

Additional information about Nestlé’s plastic pollution footprint can be found here: https://www.greenpeace.ch/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Nestle%CC%81-A-giant-plastic-problem.pdf

Photos from the action at Nestlé’s U.S. headquarters are available here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/greenpeaceusa09/sets/72157708181133464

Additional photo and b-roll footage will be available here later today: https://www.media.greenpeace.org/shoot/27MZIFJWZW23G

Photo and video from actions on Nestlé around the globe are available here: https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJWG2RA3

###

Contacts:

Perry Wheeler, Greenpeace USA Senior Communications Specialist, +1 301 675 8766

For interviews on the ground in Virginia: Myriam Fallon, +1 708 546 9001

 

The post Nestlé’s plastic monster spews pollution at company’s U.S. headquarters appeared first on Break Free From Plastic.

Six-decade plankton study charts rise of ocean plastic waste

A trove of data showing when the Atlantic began choking with plastic has been uncovered in the handwritten logbooks of a little-known but doggedly persistent plankton study dating back to the middle of the last century.

From fishing twine found in the ocean in the 50s, then a first carrier bag in 1965, it reflects how the marine refuse problem grew from small, largely ignored incidents to become a matter of global concern.

The unique dataset, published in Nature Communications, is based on records from the continuous plankton recorder, a torpedo-shaped marine sampling device that has been towed across more than 6.5m nautical miles of ocean over the past 60 years.

Based firstly in Hull, then Edinburgh and Plymouth, the long-running programme was initially designed to collect pelagic plankton, which are an indicator of water quality and also a source of food for whales and other marine life.

But the operators have also kept a chart-and-counter track of entanglements that disrupted their work: what snared the equipment, where it happened and when. This has proved a valuable source of data on plastic waste, according to contemporary researchers.

plastics graph 1

“This consistent time series provides some of the earliest records of plastic entanglement, and is the first to confirm a significant increase in open ocean plastics in recent decades,” the paper notes.

Q&A

What are microplastics?

Microplastics, defined as pieces of plastic smaller than 5mm in size, are shed by synthetic clothing being washed, vehicle tyres, and the spillage of plastic pellets used by manufacturers. The physical breakdown of plastic litter also creates them. Rain washes them into rivers and the sea, but they can also be blown by the wind, spread by flying insects, and end up in fields when treated sewage waste is used as fertiliser.

Studies have found microplastics in bottom-living sea creatures and sediments taken from the North Sea. Once ingested by small creatures, the microplastics move through the food chain. A study found microplastics in every one of 50 marine mammals washed up on UK shores, and the pollution is also ending up in humans.

In 2018 the World Health Organisation announced a review into the potential risks of plastic in drinking water after analysis found that more than 90% of the world’s most popular bottled water brands contained tiny pieces of plastic. The UK banned plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products in January 2019, and the EU has proposed new measures to curb their use.

The start of the problem was so slow it was barely noticed. The log shows strands of fishing twine found off the east coast of Iceland in 1957, then a carrier bag in waters to the north-west of Ireland eight years later. The paper states this was a couple of years before the first reports of turtles and seabirds becoming ensnared in plastic.

Over the following decades the problem grew steadily. In the 50s, 60s and 70s, fewer than 1% of tows were disrupted by entanglements with synthetic materials. By the 90s it was almost 2%, and in the first decade of this century the increase “was of an order of magnitude”, according to the paper. The figure is now hovering somewhere between 3% and 4%.

Almost half of the interruptions are caused by discarded nets, lines and other fishing equipment. Other plastic objects account for the rest. The paper said this highlighted the dangers to sea life because the sampling device was towed by ferries and container ships at a depth of about 7 metres, where many fish and marine mammals can be found. The number of entanglements was particularly high in the southern North Sea, but the authors said the problem was evident across a very wide range of ocean.

plastics graph 2

Clare Ostle, of the Plymouth-based Marine Biological Association, said: “The message is that marine plastic has increased significantly and we are seeing it all over the world, even in places where you would not want to, like the Northwest Passage and other parts of the Arctic.”

She was encouraged that the number of carrier bags snagged by the equipment appeared to have stabilised in recent years, and speculated that this may be a result of increased consumer awareness. But she cautioned that the data did not have a precise correlation with the amount of plastic in the ocean and was better seen as a guide to broad trends.

This is the second time the continuous plankton recorder has provided essential data on marine plastic. Since 2004, samples have been retrospectively analysed for microplastics, revealing a significant increase from 1960–70 to 1980–1990.

Ostle said the plankton recorder – which has been running since 1931 – continued to produce important new data because it offered a longer timeline than other, more sophisticated studies.

“I was inspired by the history, the legacy of all the people involved,” she said. “It is impressive when you consider how they have kept it going for so long in the face of many challenges.”

The sampling operation almost collapsed as a result of government cuts in the 80s, when monitoring of this type was out of fashion. According to one history of the project, “It was considered to be weak science, akin to stamp collecting.”

The scientists behind it kept it going, however, modernised the procedures, and the project’s value is now recognised.

Can you make a difference to ocean plastic?

I was looking at a pair of tiny green islands protruding from the Caribbean sea. The guide was telling us how they were far bigger below the surface – what we could see was just the tip of two underwater mountains, providing sheltered water where all manner of marine life thrived. I peered down at the shimmering sea. From where …

The post Can you make a difference to ocean plastic? appeared first on Less Plastic.

‘Plastic Soup:’ Photos and Q&A with author of new book documenting plastic pollution and solutions

  • Earth’s oceans are drowning in plastic. Humans created 311 million metric tons of the stuff in 2014, and it is expected that we’ll be making four times as much by 2050 — yet only about 5 percent of plastic is currently recycled. It’s been estimated that 8 million metric tons of the plastic that goes to waste is dumped into our oceans every year — which is equivalent to a full garbage truck of plastic being dumped into the oceans every minute.
  • In a series of stunning photos and informative graphics, new book Plastic Soup: An Atlas of Ocean Pollution documents the plastic pollution crisis engulfing Earth’s seas, the impacts of that pollution on wildlife and people, and initiatives that have been created to tackle the problem.
  • The book, set to be published tomorrow by Island Press, was written by Michiel Roscam Abbing, a political scientist who reports on the latest scientific research around plastics for the Plastic Soup Foundation. Mongabay spoke with Abbing via email to get a sneak peek at what’s in the book, including a handful of its most compelling images and graphics.

Earth’s oceans are drowning in plastic. Humans created 311 million metric tons of the stuff in 2014, and it is expected that we’ll be making four times as much by 2050 — yet only about 5 percent of plastic is currently recycled. It’s been estimated that 8 million metric tons of the plastic that goes to waste is dumped into our oceans every year — which is equivalent to a full garbage truck of plastic being dumped into the oceans every minute.

In a series of stunning photos and informative graphics, new book Plastic Soup: An Atlas of Ocean Pollution documents the plastic pollution crisis engulfing Earth’s seas, the impacts of that pollution on wildlife and people, and initiatives that have been created to tackle the problem.

Plastic Soup: An Atlas of Ocean Pollution is out April 4 via Island Press. Image courtesy of Island Press.

Microplastics have been found in the guts of marine mammalssea turtle hatchlings, and humans around the globe, and plastic water bottles and snack-food packaging have even been found in the deepest parts of the oceans, at depths of nearly 11,000 meters or 36,100 feet.

Plastic Soup looks at a variety of sources of plastic pollution and the harm it causes, from the microplastics in cosmetics that so frequently leak into fragile ecosystems to the impacts of balloon releases on wildlife. But the book is also intended as a message of hope, highlighting a number of projects that have been created and actions people can take to help reduce plastic waste.

The book, set to be published tomorrow by Island Press, was written by Michiel Roscam Abbing, a political scientist who reports on the latest scientific research around plastics for the Plastic Soup Foundation. Mongabay spoke with Abbing via email to get a sneak peek at what’s in the book, including a handful of its most compelling images and graphics.

Mongabay: How did you come up with the idea for Plastic Soup?

Michiel Roscam Abbing: Since 2011 I have worked for the Plastic Soup Foundation, a Dutch NGO dedicated to fighting plastic pollution. We cover all kinds of plastic soup news items on plasticsoupfoundation.org. We started to think about a book on the topic a few years ago. With the assistance of the Dutch publishing house LIAS we developed the idea of an atlas to visually show that plastic soup is a global problem manifesting itself in many different ways. Some of the questions we set out to answer include: What are the causes and sources of plastic soup? And what are the solutions to get plastic soup off the map?

Only 9% of all plastic discarded since 1950 has been recycled. The other 91% has been taken to landfills, turned into incinerator emissions, or ended up in the oceans. Photo Credit: Shutterstock /Katacarix.

Were you trying to catalog the plastic pollution problem comprehensively? Or just highlighting the problem by examining some of the chief sources of plastic pollution and their impact?

The goal of Plastic Soup is to show that the plastic soup is not only about waste that can be cleaned up. There are many sources and effects of plastic soup — and also many possible solutions. I tried indeed to approach the issue in a comprehensive way, easy for any reader to understand.

Growing use of countless mass-produced, cheap plastic items for a wide range of short-lived applications gives rise to enormous quantities of plastic waste. Photo Credit: Shutterstock / John and Penny.
It is difficult to determine how long it takes before plastics break up. Plastics in the oceans do not degrade, ending up instead as minuscule particles. Graphic courtesy of the Plastic Soup Foundation.

What are some of the more egregious sources and/or impacts of plastic pollution that you discovered in the course of writing the book?

One is that the long-term impact of microplastics in soil can have all kinds of negative effects on terrestrial ecosystems with even greater impact than at sea. Another is that we breathe microplastics continuously without understanding if there might be negative consequences for our health in the long run.

In supermarkets, plastic helps cut down on food waste. Nowadays even single items like peppers and cucumbers are wrapped in plastic. Photo Credit: Harmen Spek/Plastic Soup Foundation.
Plastic-free supermarkets show that not using plastic is perfectly possbile. Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza opened this plastic-free shop in 2018. Photo Credit: Anna van der Vliet.

Plastic Soup also documents some efforts to reduce the amount of plastic waste we create and dump into the environment. What were some of the more inspiring projects you found?

One of the inspiring new techniques that stands out to me is natural branding, a technique in which lasers are used to mark vegetables and fruit in lieu of plastic stickers. Plastic-free supermarkets are also popping up here and there and are showing the big chains the way to follow. Other people show us how to live with zero waste.

The machines that can add the laser brand marks are getting cheaper, smaller, and better every year. This means that they are becoming more viable for increasing numbers of products. Photo Credit: Eosta.
Natural branding is the technique in which lasers are used to mark fruit and vegetables by burning a little pigment away from the outermost layer of the skin. Photo Credit: Eosta.

What are some of the top recommendations made in the book for how people can reduce their use of plastics? Is there anything folks can do to help clean up existing plastic pollution?

Try to live without plastic for a while, as promoted by Plastic Free July, an Australian initiative that developed a useful toolbox to do so. Also try, for example, to combine your daily jogging or walk the dog with cleaning up the street litter you encounter along the way.

What can you do to counteract pollution by plastic, and what has the most effect? Graphic courtesy of the Plastic Soup Foundation.

Once it’s out in the world, what do you hope a book like this can accomplish?

I hope that Plastic Soup will contribute to raising awareness about this environmental issue and make it clear that cleaning up the mess and preventing further pollution is everybody’s responsibility — including companies and authorities.

Kamilo Beach in Hawaii, 2008. Plastic fragments from all over the world don’t merely accumulate here; as time passes, they also keep getting smaller. Photo Credit: 5Gyres.
Our efforts to clean up plastic from the environment will never keep up unless governments succeed in turning off the tap. Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Asia Images.

Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001

FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.

CORRECTION: This article originally implied that 8 million metric tons of plastic is dumped into the oceans every minute. It has been corrected to state that 8 million metric tons of plastic are dumped into the oceans every year, which is equivalent to a full garbage truck every minute.

Article originally posted in Mongabay.

 

The post ‘Plastic Soup:’ Photos and Q&A with author of new book documenting plastic pollution and solutions appeared first on Break Free From Plastic.

Greenpeace calls for Nestle to act over single-use plastics

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – Environmental group Greenpeace on Thursday accused Nestle of not doing enough to reduce single-use plastics polluting landfills and oceans.

Jennifer Morgan, executive director at Greenpeace International, said the world’s biggest food group should set a target for reducing single-use packaging and invest in alternatives focusing on refill and reuse.

“Nestle is a major contributor to the plastic crisis and environmental problem that we have right now,” Morgan told Reuters on the sidelines of the company’s annual general meeting in Lausanne, where Greenpeace activists intervened shaking banners.

Nestle Chief Executive, Mark Schneider, said he thought focusing exclusively on reusable packaging was wrong. “Why rely on just one lever when you have four or five you can use,” he said, citing the importance of biodegradable packaging and recycling.

Growing concern over environmental issues – from climate change to plastic pollution – has triggered a wave of global student protests, piling pressure on policymakers and business leaders.

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle are the world’s biggest producers of plastic waste, according to a report last year from Greenpeace and the Break Free From Plastic movement. It analyzed 187,000 pieces of trash collected in 42 countries

Duncan Pollard, Nestle head of sustainability, said the company agreed about the need to reduce plastic use. “But we need to make sure the new packaging solutions are safe and that consumers accept them,” he told Reuters, adding it was too early to say plastic use had peaked.

Nestle has said it used 1.7 million tonnes of plastic packaging last year. Greenpeace said that was up 13 percent, but Pollard said Nestle had since changed the way it measured plastic use and the true rise was below 3 percent.

Last month, the European Parliament approved a law banning a wide range of single-use plastic items by 2021.

Nestle has vowed to make 100 percent of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 and push the use of compostable and biodegradable materials polymers.

Greenpeace criticized Nestle’s promises as lacking transparency, clear targets and significant investment.

“Material substitution is a false solution,” Morgan said. “It will just shift the impact to the world’s forests and agricultural lands.”

Pollard said he didn’t share concerns about deforestation and thought the shift to paper would help tackle climate change. Nestle was also working on a new system of water dispensers.

Greenpeace on Wednesday launched a “plastic monster” video showing a fictional “Nestle Chief Plastics Officer” trying to buy a single-use plastic bottle of the company’s Pure Life water from a vending machine and having dead fish and slimy waste explode in his face instead.

The one-minute spot ends with the slogan “Tell Nestle to stop single-use plastic”.

editing by John Stonestreet

Article originally posted in Reuters.

 

The post Greenpeace calls for Nestle to act over single-use plastics appeared first on Break Free From Plastic.

What if we treated our oceans like they matter?

The seas provide half of our oxygen, and food for a billion people. Let’s give them the protection they deserve.

Under the restless surface of our seas, hundreds of miles from land, there’s a world of giants and hunters; ancient lifeforms and lost cities.

These waters beyond national borders are home to creatures even more varied than in the tropical rainforests. They contain the highest and longest mountain range anywhere on our planet, and trenches deep enough to hold Mount Everest. They’re the highways for whales, turtles, albatross and tuna on their cross-planet migrations.

Protecting these natural wonders is simply the right thing to do. But this isn’t just about conscience. It’s about survival.

The oceans produce half of our oxygen and food for a billion people. And because they soak up huge amounts of carbon dioxide, they’re also one of our best defences against climate change. Our fate is bound to the fate of our oceans. If they don’t make it, we don’t either.

Turtle and FAD in East Pacific Ocean © Alex Hofford / Greenpeace
Loggerhead turtle swimming around a fish aggregation device belonging to the Ecuadorean purse seiner ‘Ingalapagos’, in the vicinity of the northern Galapagos Islands. © Alex Hofford / Greenpeace

A rescue plan for our oceans

Now though, there’s a ray of hope. Scientists have drawn up a rescue plan for our oceans – and we’re going to throw everything we’ve got at making it happen.
Are you in?

The ocean rescue plan is bold and brilliantly simple: we cover the planet in ocean sanctuaries, putting a third of the oceans off-limits to fishing, mining and other destructive industries.

If the rescue plan goes ahead, it’ll be one of the biggest conservation efforts in human history, creating millions of square kilometres of new protected areas.

Here’s the problem: at the moment, there’s no way to create new sanctuaries outside countries’ national waters. We can’t protect these huge areas of the ocean without an international agreement on how this protection would work.

Governments have started work on a UN Ocean Treaty and if they get it right it’ll give us the tools we need to make these sanctuaries happen.

Krill fishing vessel in the Antarctic © Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace
Krill fishing vessel in the Antarctic © Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace

Join us on an epic voyage

The open oceans are some of the least studied – and least regulated – places on Earth, and to properly protect them we need to know more about what’s happening out there.

So this week, a team of scientists, photographers and campaigners is setting out on an epic journey from the North Pole to the South Pole to document a year in the life of our oceans and build the best possible case for a strong UN treaty.

Sailing on Greenpeace’s swiftest and largest ship, the Esperanza, they’ll be conducting crucial ocean research and protection – exposing the threats, peacefully confronting the villains and championing the solutions.

The team at sea needs as many people as possible on land to make sure their findings can’t be ignored. Will you join the campaign?

Walruses on ice floe at Kvitøya in Svalbard © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace
Walruses on ice floe at Kvitøya in Svalbard © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace

Ocean sanctuaries work

All over the world, wherever a proper ocean sanctuary is created, the results are dramatic. Habitats recover. The fish come back. Life finds a way.

But because sanctuaries work so well, the people who profit from dumping and plundering our seas are working hard to water down the treaty. It’s up to us to make sure nature and ordinary people have a voice in this too.

When we work together we can change the world. From stopping Shell’s oil drilling in the Arctic, to getting the world’s largest tuna company to clean up its act for people and the planet, we know how to stand up for our seas – and win.

But now it’s time to go even bigger. Over the next year, this mission will need all the courage, cunning and creativity we can find. But today, it just needs your name.

Sign the petition to get started.

The post What if we treated our oceans like they matter? appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

Revolutionary: Zlarin becomes the first Croatian plastic-free island!

Article from #breakfreefromplastic group Zelena Akcija.

Motivated by the European Single Use Plastic Directive, a group of local activists from the island of Zlarin in Croatia had an idea of Zlarin becoming an island free from single-use plastic. They won a contest for the most innovative solutions that will help prevent further plastic pollution entering the Adriatic Sea. Then, a few months later, the vision started becoming a reality when all shops, restaurants, NGOs and local authorities signed the declaration to replace disposable plastic with more environmentally friendly solutions to contribute to stopping plastic pollution.

The Zero Waste Croatia Network that collects and supports best practices in Croatia congratulates the island of Zlarin and all those engaged in this significant success.

“As a member of international Break Free From Plastic movement we congratulate the island of Zlarin! We have worked to get strong and motivating EU legislation to stop plastic pollution, and soon after that we already have concrete results here in Croatia. Zlarin is the first, and hopefully many other islands and municipalities will follow!”, says Marko Košak, coordinator of the Zero Waste Croatia Network, member of global Break Free From Plastic movement.

“Our goal isn’t to simply replace all single use plastic items with another single use items made of more environmental friendly materials. Our goal is to once again start using reusable items – going shopping with canvas bags, using glass instead of plastic bottles, using tap water instead of bottled water at events etc. Plastic cups and cutlery will be replaced by more sustainable solutions and straws will be completely phased out”, says Ana Elizabeta Robb from Zlarin, one of the initiators of this successful project.

After this crucial step, Zlarin won’t stop.

“We already had meeting with local activists and have planned the next actions to improve quality of life on the island. The Croatian Ministry of Environment doesn’t do much to stop plastic pollution, so we are applying pressure from bottom up. With our zero waste municipalities and plastic-free islands like Zlarin we are on the right track to transform our society and environment to be a better place for living“, concludes Marko Košak.

The post Revolutionary: Zlarin becomes the first Croatian plastic-free island! appeared first on Break Free From Plastic.

Campaigner swims 26k from Snowdon to the sea collecting plastic pollution evidence

Surfers Against Sewage Regional Representative for Snowdonia Laura Sanderson collects plastic pollution and other waste during her swim, Saturday, April 6, 2019. PA photo: Rui Vieira

Surfers Against Sewage Regional Representative for Snowdonia Laura Sanderson is highlighting the issue of plastic pollution in rivers by swimming the Afon Glaslyn in Snowdonia from source to sea at Beddgelert Village, Wales, Saturday.

Laura is joining community organised river cleans along the swim route and collecting water samples throughout the swim to be tested for micro plastic at a laboratory at Bangor University during the swim between 6-16th April.

Surfers Against Sewage is calling for a giant wave of volunteers from across the UK with aims of over 30,000 volunteers taking to our 615 community organised beaches, mountains, streets and waterways to keep them clear of plastic. 

 

Surfers Against Sewage Regional Representative for Snowdonia Laura Sanderson collects plastic debris and other waste  PA photo: Rui Vieira

Surfers Against Sewage Regional Representative for Snowdonia Laura Sanderson will be collecting plastic and other debris and waste to highlight the issue of plastic pollution in rivers by swimming the Afon Glaslyn in Snowdonia from source to sea.

The aim of the swim is to track levels of plastic pollution from source to sea by collecting water samples throughout the swim to be tested at a laboratory at Bangor University.

Find your nearest Surfers Against Sewage clean: https://www.sas.org.uk/regions-reps/

The journey is part of Surfers Against Sewage’s Big Spring Beach Clean: Summit to Sea, which this year includes 615 cleans nationwide on mountain, rivers and beaches. It involves swimming the 26km stretch of river from the highest point Llyn Glaslyn on Snowdon, down to the sea.

Laura started the swim at 5.30 am on Saturday 6th April from the snowy top of Snowdon and joined a community clean in the village of Beddgelert on the first day.  On Sunday 7th April Laura joined Plastic Free Porthmadog on a clean up.

Laura Sanderson said “Swimming in rivers, lakes and seas enables an unrivalled closeness to watery environments. The chance to swim from summit to sea is exciting as we will meet communities along the journey who support cleaning up plastic pollution, and we will also be tracking the levels of plastic in the river for the first time to help give us more information on the scale of the plastic crisis impacting precious river life”

Surfers Against Sewage Regional Representative for Snowdonia Laura Sanderson prepares brown bottle used to test microplastics, Saturday, April 6, 2019. PA photo: Rui Vieira

Dr Christian Dunn is Associate Director of the Bangor Wetlands Group at Bangor University and the Surfers Against Sewage representative for Chester and said: “This research will give us a greater understanding of levels of microplastics through a water catchment system. It is very worrying to discover microplastics are present in even the most remote river sites and quite depressing they are in some of our country’s most iconic locations”.

The swim, taking place between 6th-16th April, will include local community cleans along the journey. Lakes and rivers become contaminated when plastic rubbish blows into them and, over time, is broken down into smaller microparticles. Along the route Laura will be collecting plastic and debris that has entered the waterways as well as carrying out a river community clean up as swimmers pass through the villages of Beddgelert and Porthmadog. The aim of the swim is to track levels of plastic pollution from source to sea collecting water samples throughout the swim to be tested at the laboratory at Bangor University.

Surfers Against Sewage Regional Representative for Snowdonia Laura Sanderson, with Ruth Bulleyment, and Dannielle Hicks collect plastic pollution whilst swimming the Afon Glaslyn in Snowdonia from source to sea, Saturday, April 6, 2019. PA photo: Rui Vieira

Surfers Against Sewage is calling for a giant wave of volunteers from across the UK with aims of over 30,000 volunteers taking to our beaches, mountains, streets and waterways to keep them clear of plastic.

Jack Middleton, Community Manager at Surfers Against Sewage said “The swim by Laura is amazing, it will encourage people to join river cleans along the journey and also provide crucial data on the scale of the plastic crisis in our rivers here in the UK.”

The Big Spring Beach Clean has been made possible with the kind support from the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation (IFCF) and the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.

Find your nearest Surfers Against Sewage clean: https://www.sas.org.uk/regions-reps/

The post Campaigner swims 26k from Snowdon to the sea collecting plastic pollution evidence appeared first on Surfers Against Sewage.

Surfers Against Sewage Calls For Giant Wave of Volunteers To Join Its Biggest Ever UK Spring Clean, From Summit To Sea!

  •  Urgent call for volunteers to join more than 600 mountain, river and beach cleans across the UK between April 6-14.
  • Surfers Against Sewage Reps across the UK warn of the scale of the plastic crisis in the aftermath of Storm Gareth.
  • Growing awareness of the plastic crisis and the “the Attenborough effect” has led to this being the biggest year of cleans ever.
  • Volunteers will track the brands they find during the cleans as part of a UK wide Plastic Pollution Brand Audit to share with government and industry.

Find your nearest clean: https://www.sas.org.uk/regions-reps/

Emily Whitfield-Wicks/PA Wire

Across the week of the 6th to the 14th of April, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) is organising its biggest ever Big Spring Beach Clean. Encompassing the full Summit to Sea message, SAS has over 600 events taking place from mountain tops to rivers and beachfronts across the UK.

SAS is now calling for a giant wave of volunteers from across the UK with aims of over 30,000 volunteers taking to our beaches, mountains, streets and waterways to keep them clear of plastic.

With the effects of Storm Gareth being felt nationwide, SAS hopes this united front created by armies of volunteers will be able to urgently remove tonnes of plastic pollution and waste from our environment.

The clean locations include:

  • Most Northerly – Skara Brae, Orkney
  • Most Southerly – Le Braye, Jersey
  • Most Easterly – Lowestoft, East Anglia
  • Most Westerly – Enniskillen Island, Northern Ireland
  • Most Rural – Arnol, Outer Hebrides
  • Most Urban – Royal Docks, London
  • Most Daring – Surfers Against Sewage Rep Laura Sanderson will be swimming the 26kmn Afon Glaslyn in Snowdonia from the highest point Llyn Glaslyn on Snowdon, down to the sea. Laura will be collecting plastic and water samples throughout the swim to be tested at the laboratory at Bangor University where the research will give us a greater understanding of levels of microplastics through a water catchment system.

Hugo Tagholm, CEO of Surfers Against Sewage said “We are just emerging from a series of heavy storms battering the UK, including Storm Gareth a few weeks back. We have to mobilise as many people as possible to take action in the face of this plastic crisis, right across the UK, from summit to sea. Collectively we can all make a difference”

Hugo continued: “This is our biggest beach clean ever, and we’re seeing higher numbers of people than ever engaging in plastic pollution campaigns and wanting to take action due to the Attenborough effect and the awful scenes on television and in our newspapers”

 

Find your nearest clean: https://www.sas.org.uk/regions-reps/

As part of the cleans this year, Surfers Against Sewage is asking volunteers to track the brands they are finding during the cleans as part of a UK-wide Plastic Pollution Brand Audit, aimed at identifying the big businesses most responsible for plastic pollution around the UK.

Almost a decade ago, Surfers Against Sewage conducted an award-winning Plastic Pollution Brand Survey that revealed that the majority of all beach pollution (56%) was attributable to just twelve corporations, dubbed the ‘Dirty Dozen’. This included Nestle, Coca Cola, Walkers Snacks / Frito Lays, Kraft, Tesco, Mars, Unilever, PepsiCo, United Biscuits, Carlsberg, Co-Op and Asda.

Surfers Against Sewage is calling for volunteers to track the brands found on the cleans. Photo Emily Whitfield-Wicks/PA Wire

Ten years later, SAS is updating the survey to find out what has changed and will use the data to inform the UK Government’s current consultation on plastics.

Hugo Tagholm said “Every single piece of plastic we intercept is a victory for our oceans and environment, but it is vital that we concentrate on stopping pollution at source and challenge the systems responsible for its production. The evidence gathered by volunteers across the UK will be used to send a direct message to big businesses and those in power that we need to make tangible changes.”

The Big Spring Beach Clean has been made possible with the kind support from the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation (IFCF)

Find your nearest clean: https://www.sas.org.uk/regions-reps/

 

The post Surfers Against Sewage Calls For Giant Wave of Volunteers To Join Its Biggest Ever UK Spring Clean, From Summit To Sea! appeared first on Surfers Against Sewage.