Plastic Free Woolacombe

Plastic is big news and has been so ever since viewers saw the BBC’s Blue Planet II and were shocked at how much plastic was in our oceans. 

We were already alerted to the problem posed by plastics when supermarkets started charging for their carrier bags. But Blue Planet bought those concerns into sharp focus and told us we simply have to do more to protect the oceans, their inhabitants and our planet. 

It is believed that up to eight million objects enter our seas on a daily basis, with up to two-thirds of those objects coming from litter left on beaches or washed down in our rivers. That debris chokes our seas and damages the fish, mammals and birds that either consume it or become entangled in it. The Marine Conservations Society found that rubbish washing up on UK beaches increases year on year; it was up 10% in 2017. 

Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) list many shocking stories on their website about the damage done by plastics when they enter the sea. In one case a whale had to be put down after being found malnourished off the coast of Norway. An autopsy showed 30 plastic bags and other packaging in its stomach and intestines. 

A plastic bag is typically used for 15 minutes, but could take up to 300 years to fragment. 

People in Devon have been galvanised into taking action to curb their own use of plastics and a group has been set-up called Plastic Free Woolacombe (PFW). This group awards the title of ‘Plastic Free Champion’ to businesses that actively minimise their use of plastics.

In February, the PFW group announced their presence with a community meeting for local businesses and residents, bringing them together to share ideas and discuss future initiatives. The group also gave a presentation at Woolacombe School, where teachers and pupils have embarked on making their school plastic free.

It is fantastic to see that not only is the business community of Woolacombe interested in using less plastic, but that they are actually making steps to do that right now. By taking these pro-active steps the beauty of the area and the integrity of the oceans can be preserved for generations to come. 

For more information on Plastic Free Woolacombe and to read what local businesses are doing to reduce their single use plastic waste please follow “Plastic Free Woolacombe’ at Facebook and Instagram. 

In addition a number of local groups regularly run beach cleans or nurdle hunts to reduce the plastic and rubbish  on the beach, it would be wonderful if you could take part. We can all do our bit to help preserve the amazing coastlines and oceans for future generations and wildlife. We need to do something before it is too late.

The beach picture opposite is Woolacombe Beach. As an estimate: if there are 650 pieces in a single tide line section of 30cm and the beach is 2.5miles long that must mean that currently there are 8.7million pieces of plastic on Woolacombe beach alone – and that’s probably being conservative. Lets us all try and make a difference. 

Join the resistance with us at Plastic Free Woolacombe 



Plastic Free North Devon


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