Falmouth is the third coastal town to be awarded ‘plastic- free’ status in Cornwall by charity, Surfers Against Sewage, alongside nearby seaside towns Perranporth and Penzance.
The ‘plastic – free coastline’ campaign has encouraged local communities to reduce single – use plastics and motivate local residents to participate in regular beach cleans. Falmouth’s Plastic Free Community member, Kirstie Edwards, has taken part in the events that have helped the town thrive in tackling a worldwide issue.
“Originally, I got involved because I’d always been somebody that cleaned beaches…and trying to get people motivated, around Christmas we had all those major storms that left loads of stuff all over the beaches. I just got to the point where I thought this isn’t enough, I’m not doing enough here, I need to do more.”
The award is important to the town and will attract masses of tourism as well as encouraging more people to take part in the campaign. From hotels to schools to businesses, there is a ‘sense of community and people coming back together’.
“People are really keen to take a bit more pride in where they live and to take some action on this.”
Falmouth town council voted unanimously to support a plastic-free town and with the help of Surfers Against Sewage, Falmouth Marine Conservation, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and an abundance of volunteers, the campaign has brought the community together.
Plastic has rapidly become a huge environmental problem and is particularly affecting Cornwall’s wildlife and coastline. 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the sea every year and this happens in a variety of different ways.
“I’ve been trying to really publicise the idea that even if it is plastic in the street…recycling blown in the street, if it’s in the gutter it has the potential to go down even a storm drain which takes it directly to the sea,
It also has the ability to travel down the drain and then end up in a stream which then takes you to a river, and where does the river end up? The great big blue sea.”
The nation was in shock after the BBC programme, Blue Planet, revealed the dangers of plastics on the marine life, urging the nation to make a change.
In particular nurdles, plastic pellets that have absorbed dangerous pollutants, are finding their way into the ocean and affecting all wildlife. This can also damage the health of humans as the nurdles are then in the food humans consume.
Plastic Free Falmouth are looking to further their effort by encouraging other businesses to join the initiative and to motivate tourists to help protect the Cornish coastlines.
“It is important to get that message to the tourists so they know that we are a plastic-free town and they are encouraged to recycle and reduce their own plastic waste.”
VIDEO: Exclusive with Kirstie Edwards, member of Plastic Free Falmouth