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Environment Agency launches ‘land based sector’ teaching resources, by Kelly Haynes, plastics and sustainability team, Environment Agency

Across the nation there has been a noticeable increase in preventing plastic pollution activities. People of all ages and backgrounds are sitting up and listening to the message experts have been expressing for years about detrimental environmental impacts. Blue Planet II and greater media coverage, thankfully, have a lot to answer for.

Beach cleans and litter picks now seem to be a monthly, if not weekly, occurrence, often down to the many volunteer community groups taking action to tackle these concerns. This is fantastic.

But it’s important we continue to harness and nurture this growing interest, which is why we have launched a series of lectures and teaching resources aimed at young people interested in a career in land based sectors. Young people are, after all, the future custodians of our planet.

Connecting with young people promotes good practice and environmental awareness before they join the workforce. It is fundamental to motivating positive long-term behaviour change and is good for our wellbeing.

The teaching resources are targeted at young people studying a vocational course, such as a City & Guilds certificate/diploma, or BTEC National, in the following subjects:

  •  Agriculture
  •  Animal Care
  •  Animal Management
  •  Horticulture
  •  Equine Studies

They introduce students to different sources of plastic pollution from land based industries, discuss the importance of good waste management, possible solutions and ideas to avoid, reduce, and reuse plastics from land based activities.

People aren’t always aware how plastic pollution in the sea is connected to rivers inland. The agricultural or land based sector in particular is one area that’s perhaps overlooked in terms of potential sources of plastic pollution. This is interesting given that 71% of land in the UK is dedicated to agriculture, and these are often rural locations close to watercourses, forming an important part of a number of river catchments.

The education materials we’ve produced attempt to address this disconnect, demonstrating that no matter where you are in the country, we could all potentially be contributing to plastic pollution.

Overall, these materials will help young people contribute to Environment Agency ambitions to promote better environmental practices that result in a reduction of plastic waste, helping to achieve the goals and commitments outlined in the agency’s five year plan to create better places for people, wildlife and the environment, and the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

We would like these resources to be used and shared as much as possible. Please get in touch with the Plastic and Sustainability Team if you would like to use these in your classes or are interested in using them for yourself.