April 2nd, 2015

Pick of the bunch: communities and litter

Photo by  St Peter's Community News (CC BY-SA 2.0)

by Sophie Crosswell

 

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that litter’s a bad thing, right? Yet the most recent Local Environmental Quality Survey of England (LEQSE) report found ‘unacceptable’ levels of litter at 11% of sites inspected – and ‘acceptable’ doesn’t necessarily mean none. So if we all agree that litter is bad, how come we drop so much of it, and what are we going to do about it?

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March 27th, 2015

Stemming the tide of plastic bags

Beach_strewn_with_plastic_debris

By Sarah Baulch

 

True horror lies not in crumbling Gothic graveyards or the trappings of midnight movies but in the disturbing implications of mundane things. Having spent years researching the impacts of marine debris and long hours looking at pictures of creatures with plastic clogging their stomachs, now when I stand in a supermarket queue and see an endless tide of plastic bags flow from the checkouts to the world beyond all I can think about is where those bags are going to end up.

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March 3rd, 2015

UK marine litter measures: a list as long as your arm?

Beach_Find_-_Flickr_-_Andrea_Westmoreland

by Chiarina Darrah

 

It’s taken several years of sustained campaigning to bring marine litter onto the agenda, backed up by strategic work at the global and regional level by organisations like the UN, Regional Seas Programmes, the European Commission, national governments, and many others.

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February 27th, 2015

Solving a sticky litter problem

Ruth_Roland-1919_Adams_Gum

by Emma How

 

My husband vividly recalls being made to write out ‘the mastication of glutinous substances is obnoxious’ 100 times on the blackboard when caught chewing in class. Although symbolising the anti-social mindlessness of adolescence for many a schoolmaster, the problems associated with chewing gum are, regrettably, not confined to the Just William classrooms of yesteryear.

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January 23rd, 2015

Clean streets, dirty conscience?

Grubbers

by Ian Doyle

 

Ask residents what’s important to them in their local environment and clean streets will always be one of the first things they mention. Litter, in all its unpleasant forms, has the power to dramatically affect perceptions of environmental quality and reduce residents’ pride of place, and there is evidence that it has detrimental effects in terms of property values, mental health, and crime. Therefore, it’s not surprising that clean streets are given high value.

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June 20th, 2014

Ships that pass on the blight: the problem of shipping litter

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by Clare Pitts-Tucker

 

You know that you are properly immersed in the world of resource management when you start to see a waste aspect in the most unlikely stories. As I followed the news about the recent, tragic and mysterious disappearance of flight MH370, one aspect that resonated with me was how in the course of the search following the disaster, a succession of items floating in the sea were identified as possible wreckage, but later confirmed to be simply pieces of marine litter. Whilst it was large pieces of debris that complicated the search, marine debris of all sizes causes problems for users of marine resources.

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May 30th, 2014

The bud, the bad, and the ugly

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by Thomas Appleby

 

I recently joined a group of students from the University of West England – where I lecture in Law – and the Marine Conservation Society in a beach clean at Sand Bay in North Somerset. During the clean, I was appalled by the huge number of blue plastic cotton bud stalks littering the beach, as were the students taking part. These stalks, which are used to hold the buds, are apparently washed down through the sewers: the public, not realising these plastic stalks do not decompose, flush them down the toilet and sewage treatment does not filter them out. The stalks then pollute the beach and interfere with the public’s enjoyment.

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