Plastic pollution is a growing problem around the world. Plastic, particularly single use plastic, threatens the health of our rivers, lakes, oceans, marine life and eventually human life.
The Plastic Ocean Festival in London will be showcasing a series of events from April to September 2017 incorporating film screenings of ‘A Plastic Ocean’ documentary, marine and riverine clean ups, stand up paddleboarding, and educational talks by scientists. The aim of the festival being to promote awareness and understanding of the damaging effects of plastic pollution in waterways and oceans and encourage individual and group action to refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle plastic, starting at home in London. Watertrek are one of the lead partners for this event along with Active360, Plastic Oceans Foundation and Brunel University. The festival is part of the Totally Thames Festival and the Barnes Film Festival.
The Film ‘A Plastic Ocean’ is a powerful 45 minute documentary which sets out the scale of the problem worldwide and how we all need to change the way we use plastic. It is described by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the most important films of our time”.
“A Plastic Ocean is an epic global adventure following a documentary film maker and a world record free-diver as they travel the Earth discovering the shocking impact plastic is having on our oceans and the marine animals that live there.
They investigate how our addiction to plastic is impacting the food chain and how our use and inappropriate disposal of this material may be affecting our health and wellbeing.
Stunning underwater footage of all manner of marine life are juxtaposed with floating or submerged rubbish and marine animals caught in plastic webs as the expedition leads the two adventurers to unusual scientific discoveries, heart-breaking truths and important solutions to one of the biggest problems confronting mankind.” Words : www.plasticoceanfestival.com
The first event recently took place in Paddington, London on 22nd April 2017 hosted by Paddington Central. Paul Hyman from Active 360 was involved and reports “Turnout was excellent with the small auditorium filled for the screening and every paddleboard and canoe out on the canal afterwards. Lots of plastic trash was collected including an inflatable horse! Some participants were already actively involved but many were new and are keen to continue to help and join the team.”
There will be many more opportunities to see the film and get involved throughout the festival period.
The next confirmed dates are as follows but with more planned also:
Sunday 21st May 2017
10am-7pm (film showing 5.30pm-7pm)
Tuesday 18th July 2017
12-9pm (film showing 6pm-7.30pm)
Merchant Square, Paddington
Sunday 10th Sept 2017
9.30am-7pm (film showing 4.30pm-6pm)
Brentford Boating Arch (part of Tidefest Riverside Festival)
More information re the events click here.
To find out more about the Plastic Ocean Festival visit their website or email Contact@plasticoceanfestival.com
If you are interested in covering an event or becoming a media partner to the festival contact firstname.lastname@example.org
But in the meantime what can we all do to reduce marine plastic pollution? The Plastic Ocean Festival has some great simple tips:
The 4 Rs pledge
Pledge to Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
REFUSE plastic products, bags and packaging – if there’s no alternative, ask for it!
REDUCE the number of plastic products that you use or purchase.
REUSE plastic products rather than using them just once, if it’s safe to.
RECYCLE plastics that you no longer use if possible; you could even get creative with it.
1. Help raise awareness – just talking about plastic pollution with your friends, relatives and colleagues will help your whole community understand the issues.
2. Don’t buy bottled water, drink tap water and carry your own reusable bottle – join the #OneLess campaign! Take a filter bottle when travelling in places where tap water may be contaminated e.g. Water-To-Go.
3. Take your own reusable coffee cup to the store and ask for a discount. A lot of people don’t know that takeaway coffee cups and lids are rarely recycled because of the plastic or wax components and inadequate industrial facilities. Check out stylish alternatives like KeepCup or Ecoffee Cup. A few cafes provide a discount like Hammond’s at Kew Bridge who give a 33% discount on their coffee if you bring your own reusable coffee cup.
4. Choose products that aren’t wrapped in plastic e.g. loose pieces of fruit and vegetables. Your local farmers’ market and fruit and veg stall might provide paper bags rather than plastic and you might enjoy seasonal, home grown, fresh produce.
5. Take your own reusable bag shopping; avoid single use plastic bags and the 5p charge! In small shops where the charge doesn’t apply let then know you have a bag and don’t need lots of plastic bags.
6. Skip the straw! Refuse plastic drinking straws in your drinks or take your own. You can find reusable straws at places like eco-straws or Etsy
7. Recycle the plastic that you do use and find out what you can and cannot recycle from your local council here. TerraCycle is also an innovative company that reuses, upcycles and recycles typically hard-torecycle waste, like cigarette butts, offering alternatives to landfill and incineration.
8. Avoid buying cosmetics and toothpastes that contain microbeads. Find out more at Beat the Microbead.
9. Use matches or refillable lighters rather than ‘disposable’ lighters. And if you smoke, dispose of your cigarette butts responsibly in a bin and not on the ground – or even better, send your cigarette butts to TerraCycle.
10. Choose cotton, wool and other non-synthetic fabrics to avoid releasing polyester microfibres into the environment from your washing machine. If you have synthetic clothes use a shorter wash, which sheds fewer fibres. Read the
11. Report overflowing bins and litter in areas near to rivers and canals to your local council with the Keep Britain Tidy App and write directly to the leader of your council with a simple, respectful message and photo requesting that they prioritise keeping these areas clean and tidy to ensure the pollution doesn’t reach the waterways.
12. Help us clean up the Thames – join a shoreline clean-up with Thames21 or paddle and pick with Active360 stand up paddle boarding and Watertrek.
13. Keep informed and sign petitions to governments and manufacturers that promote a more sustainable future for plastics – check our News page for emerging petitions.
14. Donate to Plastic Oceans Foundation or Watertrek. Every drop counts and your donation allows us to build our current and future projects, increasing impacts and reach through protecting marine environments and producing creative environmental education. Please consider giving back to the environment through Watertrek or Plastic Oceans Foundation.