Bridlington can help stop the killer plastics

We're backing calls to stop marine litter
We're backing calls to stop marine litter

Could Bridlington lead the way in cutting down in plastic waste that is killing marine life?

This week, the Bridlington Free Press is backing calls to reduce damaging plastics and marine litter.

A seal in Flamborough was rescued after it became caught in netting

A seal in Flamborough was rescued after it became caught in netting

Discarded food containers and wrappers as well as plastic bottles can be seen littering the shoreline in Bridlington – and getting into the sea amid startling reports of serious damage to seals and seabirds such as kittiwakes and puffins. Yorkshire Coast and Bridlington campaigners are also calling for action.

The final episode of Blue Planet, which has become the most-watched TV programme of the year, shows how the oceans are threatened by over fishing and plastic pollution.

Organisations such as North Sea Wildlife Trusts and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have been working along the Yorkshire Coast hosting beach cleans.

Bex Lynam, North Sea Marine advocacy officer, said: “We carry out regular beach cleans which does make a positive difference. The type of litter that we are finding varies although we are always collecting plastics.

A young puffin wrapped up in balloons near Whitby. Suzuki later changed their policy on balloons after the incident. Picture by Whitby Whale Watching

A young puffin wrapped up in balloons near Whitby. Suzuki later changed their policy on balloons after the incident. Picture by Whitby Whale Watching

“These are especially dangerous to the welfare of wildlife we are seeing seals caught with fishing lines around there necks. Birds with balloons tide to them.

“But we are also seeing animals that have died, not necessarily from plastic ingestion, but they have marine plastics in their systems when we find them.”

Ms Lynam said: “I know it’s an overwhelming problem, people think ‘what can I do to make a difference?’

“It’s easier to start with the small things picking up your rubbish from the beach, making sure you recycle, cut down on buying products with a lot of packaging like buying loose fruit and vegetables and even supporting policy changes which will make a difference.

“It’s not hopeless on an individual perspective, little changes make a big difference.”

A beach clean is being held on Saturday January 13 from 10.30am to 12pm at North Beach.

Throughout 2017, this newspaper has covered rescues that organisations such as the RSPCA and Scarborough’s Sea Life Sanctuary have carried out to support marine wildlife affected by plastic pollution.

In May, pictures emerged showing officers from the RSPCA, Sea Life Sanctuary and British Divers Marine Life Rescue rescuing a seal pup after fishing netting wrapped around its neck in Flamborough.

Eight million metric tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans each year endangering marine wildlife. The East Riding has been doing it’s bit to boost recycling and last month government figures shows the council recycles more household waste than any other council in England.

Cllr Symon Fraser, the council’s portfolio holder for strategic asset management, housing and environment, said: “The majority of litter comes from the sea, but in summer there’s an awful lot of litter left by tourists, and we have to keep on top of it. We always ask people, don’t leave your litter on the beach. There are 100 litter bins on the foreshores so please dispose of litter properly.”

Now there has been public calls for Bridlington to take further steps to reduce its plastic.

Julie Sanders, a Bridlington resident, has called for a campaign to make the town the first single use plastic free seaside resort.

She said: “For many years now I have been litter picking plastic rubbish off the beaches as I walk my dog. Each holiday season it gets so much worse with lots of rubbish evidently coming from the local cafes, kiosks and gift shops.

"As an ex primary school teacher I also believe that the children of the town would make a strong voice and ally in supporting this campaign.

"We also have many business members who may also see the potential of global interest in such a campaign to make Bridlington plastic free and how this campaign could lift their profile with their involvement.”

•What changes would you support to halt the plastic? Let us know.Email newsdesk@bridlingtonfreepress.co.uk