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Calling all UK island communities

Parley for the Oceans and Surfers Against Sewage join forces in call for cold water island communities to lead fight against plastic pollution
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Barra in the Western Isles off North West Scotland

Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) has joined forces with Parley for the Oceans to identify and support 10 island communities around the UK in the fight against plastic pollution.

Plastic’s impact on islands

The plastic pollution crisis can have a disproportionately negative impact on island ecosystems, wildlife and communities from the tropics to the tundra.

This new project, targeting small cold water islands around the UK, will explore plastic pollution pathways and promote community-based solutions to demonstrate how these microcosms can provide a template for global action towards a plastic-free future.

Surfers Against Sewage is calling for island communities to submit applications to participate in the pilot project, which will be conducted in 2019.

‘Our island communities are on the front line battling the scourge of plastic pollution and we want to support the groups and individuals working tirelessly to tackle avoidable single-use plastic. This project provides the tools, guidance and strategy to support community-led action to free where we live from avoidable single-use plastic.’

Director of Campaigns and Projects at Surfers Against Sewage

Finding leaders

Each island will need a committed lead community volunteer: an instigator, a motivator and an ocean activist. The volunteer will be a passionate individual who can stimulate positive change and grow a movement within their community.

The community leaders will then be equipped with the tools and guidance to support activity within their island community. Leaders will also be invited to team building and training events, and have the chance to participate in SAS’s annual Volunteer Conference.

The project is seeking 10 geographically diverse island communities of varying sizes across the UK, with populations up to 25,000 permanent residents. Interested volunteers can submit their application here.

‘Every piece of plastic we pick up from a beach is a victory for life in the oceans. In collaboration with Surfers Against Sewage, we are able to drastically increase the fight against plastics in the UK, expanding to islands that had not yet been in the focus. Now we will boost the efforts of communities working to stem the tide of pollution with the strength of our strategy and global network. Out there, it’s clear: plastic is a design failure. It is not ready for a circular economy. It is a toxic material and needs to be replaced by a new generation of materials. Collaboration, creativity, community and eco-innovation — this is the way forward.’

Parley founder

Mobilised by AIR

The programme uses the learnings of both SAS’s community initiatives and Parley’s AIR strategy (Avoid. Intercept. Redesign.) to empower and mobilise community action against plastic.

Each community leader will be supported with a toolkit resource, crafted to guide the island’s strategy and detail the tactics for achieving the following three objective points:

AVOID: The Island achieves Plastic Free Community Status, including the formation of a community steering group and engaged grassroots network for change to manage actions against plastic, engaging the local authority/council, and schools.

INTERCEPT: Coordination of regular beach clean community events and collection of data regarding the type and source of the plastic pollution on their island.

REDESIGN: Reduce the islands single-use plastic footprint by engaging and collaborating with local business and inspiring and educating individual actions and promoting Parley’s AIR strategy.

Click here to read our interview with SAS’s chief exec Hugo Tagholm

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