A campaign to designate North Devon and Torridge a ‘plastic free’ coastline is gaining momentum.
The Plastic Free North Devon group formed in October as part of the national Plastic Free Coastlines drive by charity Surfers Against Sewage.
The local campaign is supported by The Pickwell Foundation, and also this month to boost its work, it has been awarded a £9,717 grant from the Big Lottery Fund and received £6,000 in funds from Fullabrook CIC.
According to the charity, at least eight-million tonnes of plastic enters the oceans each year, and this has to stop.
The Plastic Free Coastlines campaign is encouraging businesses, schools and councils to work together to reduce the use of single-use plastic consumption.
So far, Braunton, Georgeham and Croyde have received their ‘plastic free’ designation from SAS, as have Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore.
Torridge District, North Devon District and Devon County Councils, as well as a number of other town and parish councils have also pledged their support to the scheme.
Vikki Baker, SAS representative for Bideford, said: “The Plastic Free Communities framework has been such an amazing tool to use to bring together individuals, businesses and community groups in the fight against plastic pollution.
“It has enabled us to achieve goals quickly as a team that would have otherwise been a real struggle as individuals.
“The amazing thing about the campaign is not only its ability to raise awareness of plastic pollution and the need to stop it at source, but its ability to build a sense of community and empowering people to speak up and make their voices heard regarding environmental issues that affect us all.”
Campaigners are now focussing their efforts on signing more schools up for their Plastic Free Schools programme and build on the number of businesses signing up to reduce their use of plastic.
They are also developing a pack for tourists who want to get involved in the campaign.
Any schools and businesses interested in getting involved in the campaign can contact Claire on email@example.com and follow the Plastic Free North Devon Facebook page.