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Rotary Club and The Rivers Trust join forces to combat the tide of plastic pollution at Hunstanton Beach

Litter pick on the beach

An army of litter pickers descended on Old Hunstanton Beach on Wednesday 21st July to wage war against what is fast becoming one of our planet’s most unsightly and deadly foes: plastic pollution.

On the day, 7 different rotary clubs across 2 rotary districts (Midlands & East Anglia) and a team from The Rivers Trust met to remove plastic and other pollutants from the beach and to carry out a survey of plastics found as part of Preventing Plastic Pollution (PPP).

Plastic is almost everywhere, just a quick look around your home or garden and you can see how much of it is about. Sadly, more and more of it is also appearing on our beaches, roadsides, parks, riverbanks, and ultimately this plastic pollution ends up in our oceans. Around 80% of plastic waste found in the sea comes from a land source and millions of tons of plastic pollution make it to the ocean each year.

As public awareness continues to grow, Rotarians have formed a dedicated group: The Plastic Waste Initiative, with aims to carry out community research and strong advocacy to help address the challenge of plastic waste, particularly in our rivers and the sea. One of its immediate goals is to support clubs with local initiatives, like this beach clean, designed to directly address plastic pollution.

This is why the Rotary Club and The Rivers Trust have joined forces to try and stem the tide of pollution reaching our waterways. The event brought together groups from the Rotary’s Plastic Waste Initiative to remove harmful plastics and other litter from the environment. All finds will be logged into the Preventing Plastic Pollution database and contribute to our mapping of plastic pollution hotspots in river catchments.

Clare Whitelegg, Project Coordinator for the Rivers Trust, said: “PPP is an ambitious joined-up project which links together all of the issues around plastic pollution: research into the ecological impacts with university teams, removing and quantifying plastic litter, identifying sources of pollution and ultimately working towards behaviour change.

“The project seeks to work with a range of community partners to effect this change in river catchments, like the Great Ouse. It is really fantastic to have the support of Rotary in the region with these actions and great that we can all work together to remove litter and collect data on plastic pollution in Hunstanton.”

Organiser Rev Clive Doubleday, JP BA president of Peterborough Orton’s Rotary Club, said: “There are 1.2 million service minded men and women belonging to 33,000 rotary clubs in more than 200 countries worldwide! Our newest area of global concern is taking care of the environment. So as a team of rotarians we are delighted to be partnering with the River Trust as we clean up Old Hunstanton Beach together.”