Fighting plastic pollution, together

How units from our Branch Associations are working together to tackle plastic pollution in our oceans

06 June 2019

On 8 June, it’s World Oceans Day. Our oceans are magical. They connect everyone on earth, create most of the oxygen we breathe, and are home to a million species – most of which we humans barely know about.

But our oceans are in trouble, with eight to 12 million tonnes of plastic rubbish ending up there every year. This hurts the animals that live there and washes up onto beaches across the world.

That’s why this World Oceans Day, some of our brilliant units are taking part in beach cleans to help tackle plastic pollution. We spoke to units on the Cayman Islands and St Helena to hear how they’re making a difference.

Aura, Brownie

“There are a lot of beaches and sand on the Cayman Islands. The ocean is bright blue in some places. There are coral reefs, lots of fish when it’s deeper. Occasionally you’ll see a turtle, sting ray, lobster or an octopus. The grass is totally different from anywhere else I’ve lived. It’s squishy and short and pokey.

Plastic in the ocean is a big issue. Turtles think the plastic bags are jellyfish and try to eat them. I want to protect the wildlife because it’s so special.

I want to protect the green sea turtles, so they don’t eat plastic. I want them to survive and not go extinct.

My Brownie unit is attending a World Oceans Day celebration with other units across the island. We’re doing a community beach clean-up and there’ll be an environment fair afterwards, and we’re having snacks without packaging! I want a lot of people to know that it is not ok to litter. If you do, you should clean it up!

Working together we make more of an impact and achieve bigger things. It is nice to have friends supporting you and doing the project with you rather than doing it on your own.”

Alaina, Ranger

“I’m lucky enough to call the beautiful St Helena home. I love that our island has unique creatures such as the wire bird and the ebony and the green fish - they only can be found here!

Our environment faces many challenges, such as plastic pollution and materials such as metal, tin and cardboard in and around our marine environment. I want to protect my endemics and marine life, as it gives the island its natural beauty but also it is an attraction that brings tourist to our island.

On World Oceans day we’re doing a beach clean at Sandy Bay Beach, where most pollution washes up onto land. We’re going to use the items we find at the beach to do craft work and display the amount of litter we find around the beach.

I hope to educate our younger generations to not litter, but find a bin when getting rid of everyday rubbish - instead of using the ocean as a trash can!

By working as a team, we can encourage people to join in and help with what we’re trying to protect. Together, we’ll be able to come up with a way of resolving this issue to help of others in our community.”

Marcella, Ranger

“Living on an island like St Helena is full of tranquillity. I love how peaceful it is, as well as the fresh air and the breath-taking landscapes. But because we live on an island, it’s so easy for rubbish to reach our ocean. Passing ships, yachts and boats contribute to the distribution of pollution.

On World Oceans Day, I’m participating in a beach clean-up on the south side of the island, where we’ll collect the rubbish, mostly plastics. From this gathering of plastic, there’ll be activities and collages made with the support of the National Trust Department. This gives the opportunity to make others aware of the incredible impact on the environment when people litter.

I hope this will be a learning experience for young children, increasing the knowledge about the ocean and how to keep it clean.

It’s important to tackle issues together because everyone has a chance to voice their ideas and opinions. When you have great support from a team, you can be more efficient and effective!”