From joggers picking up bottles as they go, to global sporting bodies pledging to tackle plastic head on, athletes, enthusiasts and sporting amateurs are collaborating to fight for cleaner oceans
With over 300 million tonnes of plastic getting manufactured each year, which is equivalent to the total weight of the adult population of the planet, it’s unsurprising to know that this is having an adverse knock-on effect to not only the health of the planet but the marine animals that populate the waters.
David Attenborough famously took his chance on Blue Planet 2 to provide a universal rallying call to encourage us to double and treble our ecological efforts in order to make the environment a healthier place, and when David talks, we listen, stating: “We have to act. We have to act now to try and clear up some of the appalling damage we have made to the ocean, and that is going to require positive action”.
There are approximately 7.5 billion people on Earth, if every one of those picked up one piece of litter, that’s 7.5 billion less items to worry about entering the mouths of a young turtle or fish. It’s a simple way of putting things into perspective, and it’s not about campaigning, it’s stating facts and raising awareness.
The Ocean Race, formerly known as the Whitbread Round the World Race, spans 45,000 miles around the world across 8 months that sees 7 teams battle it out in one gruelling competition, but all in the name of a good cause – sustainability. Building on the legacy of the previous race, the next will see their innovative programme will act as the catalyst for addressing positive change and the impacts of plastic pollution.
Often dubbed as ‘the longest and toughest professional sporting event in the world’, the race is up for numerous awards to cement its prestige amongst the world’s most innovative and charitable events, shortlisting for Fan Engagement, Cutting-edge tech and Sustainability prizes at the 2019 BT Sport Industry Awards.
The most famous and well-known organised action against plastic in the surfing community comes in the form of the Big Spring Clean event, brought about by Surfers Against Sewage. The annual project is the ‘largest and most effective volunteer beach cleaning project in the UK, if not Europe’. Originating in 2010, the project has seen over 75,500 people giving up their free time and energy across 1,775 different events across the UK, removing 152,741KG of marine litter from the UK coastline in that time.
The past few years have seen the people behind the event team up with outdoor sport retailers Freeze Pro Shop, who they themselves have just launched a recyclable wetsuit scheme to further their environmental efforts, where old or unwanted neoprene wetsuits get upcycled into new products such as laptop cases among other creative things.
Getting right in amongst it is Project AWARE’s flagship scheme, Dive Against Debris, which empowers scuba divers of varying skill levels to remove marine debris from the ocean and contribute towards the documentation and reporting of such practises, including the location and the number of materials collected.
Launching in 2011, more than 50,000 divers have stepped up to the task across 114 countries around the world, reporting over one million pieces of trash. With a goal 2020 goal of adding yet another million pieces of trash to their collection, the event has dedicated diving spots which can be found on a map near you.
The scheme encourages social sharing of each diver’s journey, allowing for a global online community full of like-minded environmentalists. The data reportage has highlighted over 110,000 plastic and glasses bottles of the million items found which is the main source of marine pollution.
Whether you’re a water sports enthusiast or not, some of these initiatives should be enough to encourage action even in the most amateur of individuals. Do it for David!
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