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Raleigh International's UK Expedition is Combatting Plastic Pollution

Why is Plastic Pollution a Problem?

Did you know that a truckload of plastic enters the ocean every minute? This excessive tossing of a long-lasting, disposable material has amounted to 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris swimming in the sea today.

The United Nations Environment Program warns that plastic has severe environmental, social, economic and health consequences and, in the UK alone, 800,000 tones are produced every day by supermarkets, much of which ends up in the ocean.

Greenpeace reported that pieces of plastic have been found everywhere, from the deepest ocean trenches to uninhabited islands and Antarctica. This waste can take between 20 and 500 years to decompose. In the meantime, plastic can wreak havoc for wildlife, entangling aquatic animals and birds or being mistaken for food.

If action is not taken against plastic pollution, it is predicted that the amount of plastic entering the ocean will increase threefold. All of this can feel insurmountable for the everyday person. None of us want to live in a world where our oceans are contaminated and overcrowded with waste. Fortunately, the tides are beginning to turn!

How Raleigh International is Combatting Plastic Pollution

We have partnered with Till The Coast is Clear to combat plastic pollution. Set up by Raleigh Alumni Gary, Til The Coast is Clear aims to combat plastic pollution on UK shorelines using a unique fleet of watercraft, including a boat made from recycled materials and kayaks made from old fishing nets. This work is critical for ensuring a sustainable future for Britain’s natural environment.

Til The Coast is Clear’s team is made up of dedicated volunteers who patrol the British coast and remove plastic waste. The team pays special attention to less accessible shorelines where ocean litter is often forgotten about. The collected materials are then upcycled, recycled or used for waste-to-energy production.

Through this exciting collaboration, we have created an opportunity for young people to be part of impactful change. This summer, a group of extraordinary teens will work together to clear our shorelines. On the second phase of the summer’s UK Expedition, our young Venturers will be regenerating and improving the condition of Britain’s natural environment by taking part in seashore and coastal clearing while learning how to forage, kayak and sail!

What is Being Done to Solve Plastic Pollution?

In Britain, the Environment Secretary announced plans for the UK to champion the end of plastic pollution by 2040 through collaboration with businesses, environmental groups, scientists and civil society.

So far, the UK government has introduced a plastic packaging tax on packaging that contains less than 30% recycled plastic. It has also placed a ban on microbeads in cosmetic products like body scrubs and implemented measures to restrict the supply of plastic straws, plastic drink stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds. On top of this, the UK carrier bag charge reduced the use of single-use carrier bags in leading supermarkets by over 95%.

What Can We Do to Stop Plastic Pollution?

While systemic change is necessary, ordinary people can make an impact by reducing their plastic use and recycling wherever possible.

We can reduce our everyday use of plastic in a multitude of ways. Small changes like buying a reusable water bottle and boycotting products that include microbeads can make a substantial impact! Cooking more to limit pesky takeaway containers, purchasing items secondhand and buying items in bulk can all contribute to less plastic entering our oceans.

Of course, recycling is another vital action and easy way to stop plastic pollution. By responsibly disposing of cardboard, glass bottles and jars, household plastic packaging and cans we can all contribute to a more sustainable future.

However, if you’re after a more hands-on approach, taking part in ocean clean-ups along the British coast is the best way of directly reducing waste in our oceans. That is why we are providing young people with an opportunity to make a tangible difference.

These young activists will set sail on a life-changing adventure. First, they will voyage the Devon coast, working as a team to navigate and steer the sailboat. Next is an adventurous walk and scramble and a day spent freeing nature from plastic pollution, followed by a wild swim! Then the team will head out on a fleet of recycled Kayaks to clear up the ocean, as well as forage for their dinner out in the wilderness.

Does this once-in-a-lifetime adventure sound like an opportunity your teen would jump at? Find out how to get involved here!

Want to join this once-in-a-lifetime adventure?

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