The Environment Agency and independent coastal partnership, the Solent Forum, have launched an information hub for litter pickers. The web-based resource features guidance for new and existing groups, including group links, information on borrowing equipment, litter recycling and disposal, and local initiatives. Litter pickers can also join a Facebook page featuring news and local events.
The 2-year initiative is part of a wider project funded by the cross-Channel Interreg Preventing Plastic Pollution project, which is made up of 18 expert organisations aiming to reduce the impact of plastic pollution in river and marine environments across southern England.
Environment Agency project lead Lizzie Lewis said: ” Each year an estimated 14 million pieces of plastic rubbish end up in and around our waterways, with around 500,000 pieces flowing out into our oceans, adversely affecting marine life and habitats.
“We know there’s lots of excellent work taking place across the Hampshire patch to improve river and coastal health. This new online resource will collate and publicise this activity.
“By gathering and recording river catchment data, Interreg partners can create catchment-wide risk maps which identify plastic pollution hotspots. The results will help us to focus our prevention efforts, and hopefully encourage people to change their behaviours by following our waste hierarchy – avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle – to help our planet thrive.”
Kate Ansell, Solent Forum project lead, said: “We are delighted to be part of this project which helps to fulfil our ambitions to reduce litter and plastics for the benefit of all Solent coastal communities. The promotion and sharing of information and data Solent-wide will help to support local community groups and build links between them.
“This work also supports our Cleaner Solent Shores and Seas Initiative which co-ordinates information on a wide range of water quality issues throughout the Solent and its catchments.”