Plastic pollution is a growing concern. As scientific research increasingly turns its gaze towards the effect that our lifestyles have on the planet’s environment, more and more uncomfortable truths are being unearthed. For example, every single piece of plastic ever used and thrown in a landfill still exists, due to the fact that plastic takes around 500 years to decompose naturally. Combine this with the fact that the amount of plastic produced in the past decade is greater than that for the past century, and it’s clear that we have a serious problem.
As a result, developing and promoting plastic waste recycling programmes has arguably never been more important. One exciting and innovative example of this is in Bournemouth, where the #pledge4plastics initiative aims to break one world record and set another. The Government-sponsored initiative is running throughout the summer to drive up interest in and awareness of recycled plastic. The world record attempts themselves will then take place in October as part of the Bournemouth Arts Fest.
One person’s waste is another person’s art
The organisers of the programme have set their hopes on setting a new record for the highest stack of plastic pots, as well as breaking the world record for removing labels and lids from five plastic bottles. The campaign will also feature the production of a work of art incorporating plastic waste recycling, the precise nature of which is yet to be determined, according to a #pledge4plastics spokesperson.
Bournemouth is a traditional summer destination for tourists, something that the campaign hopes will increase awareness still further, as visitors to the seaside town will have the opportunity to learn about plastic waste recycling and take their new knowledge back to their own communities. Local residents and tourists alike will be encouraged to pay more attention to their household waste and litter and where it eventually ends up.
Plastic and marine life
For a seaside town like Bournemouth, plastic pollution is a particularly pressing issue. The town disposes of over 360 tonnes of waste annually from the beachside bins alone, whilst the town’s plastic recycling plant processes over 1,840 tonnes of plastic every year, turning it into new plastic products. Bournemouth is famous for its enjoyable beaches but a recent study by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation found that, based on current trends, by the year 2050 there is likely to be more plastic in the sea by mass than marine life.
Michael Filer, a councillor at Bournemouth Borough Council, was keen to stress that the council’s seafront team makes a huge amount effort to ensure that the town’s beach is as beautiful as the thousands of daily visitors expect it to be. Councillor Filer underlined, however, the shared responsibility of local residents and tourists alike to dispose of their packaging and plastic waste in a bin, or better yet, take it home to be recycled if nowhere appropriate can be found at the point of disposal.
Councillor Filer stated that the town is committed to recycling ever more plastic waste, and that the #pledge4plastics initiative, to which the council has signed up, should act as an excellent vehicle to drive awareness and promote the message that there is still more to be done.