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Marine Conservation Society Urges People To Get Through July Plastic Free

mcs plastic challenge

Reports suggest that if left unchecked, there will be more plastic (by weight) than fish in our seas by 2050. In a drive to tackle the plastic scourge in our oceans, the UK's Marine Conservation Society is asking members of the public to take on its Plastic Challenge and go plastic-free for the month of July

Simon Reeve, TV presenter and MCS Ocean Ambassador, says: 'Our planet is becoming poisoned by plastic. The vast amount in our oceans has become an environmental emergency as a direct result of our throwaway society. That’s why I’m supporting thousands of people living without single-use plastic this July as part of the Marine Conservation Society’s Plastic Challenge. Don’t just get depressed about plastic - stop using it!'

The charity has run the Plastic Challenge for the last four years – and has been supported in doing so by BRITA UK since 2016. More than 1,000 people took part in 2016, and last year over 5,035 registered to give up using single-use plastic. That includes food packaged in plastic, plastic water bottles, plastic milk bottles, shower gels, toothpaste and pasta to name but a very few!

'This is a challenge that you can make as easy or as hard for yourself as you like' says Dr Sue Kinsey, MCS Technical Specialist. 'But however you choose to do it you won't fail to realise just how reliant on plastic we’ve become. Some things are really tough to replace however much you want to give up single-use plastic'.

MCS beach cleaning data has revealed a rise of 180 per cent in the amount of plastic litter found on beaches over the last two decades. Plastic bags, bottles and tiny plastic pieces are regularly found in the stomachs of turtles and other sea creatures and in some cases have caused their death from starvation or choking, as with a whale recently found washed ashore in Spain.

The challenge is not an easy one, however. Many people struggle to live without or replace such everyday goods as milk containers, dried good such as pasta, pulses and rice that come wrapped in plastic - and where do you find toilet paper that's not wrapped in plastic, or toothpaste that's not in a plastic tube?

MCS says that many people who take on the challenge really do get stuck in. 'They know why it’s so important to cut down on our plastic use,' says Dr Kinsey. 'If these dedicated ditchers found it hard to find non single-use plastic alternatives then that just goes to show how plastic dominates our lives even if you actively don’t want it to.'

This year MCS hopes even more people will try and give up single-use plastic during July. The BBC's Blue Planet II brought the issue of plastic pollution onto the world's TV screens, and this year there's more help and advice available from MCS's new book: How To Live Plastic Free – a day in the life of a plastic detox

The book takes you through an average day giving tips and practical advice on how to remove unnecessary plastic at every opportunity, including plastic-free cosmetics, mealtimes, shopping, workplaces, pets, sporting and special events. Last year challengers made their own bread, yogurt, cleaning and bathroom products like mouthwash and sugar scrubs so as not to use plastic containers that are used once and then thrown out.

'Reducing plastic litter will certainly be an uphill climb - but there are some easy steps to take and if we can all cut down the amount we use there’s no doubt our marine environment will be a healthier place,' says Dr Kinsey. 'People taking on the Plastic Challenge are often shocked to find out just how much single-use plastic is used every day. Have a go and even if you can only manage a single day and you’ll never look at your shopping in the same way again!'

You can sign up to take part in the Plastic Challenge at www.mcsuk.org/plastic-challenge and for more details on the book How To Live Plastic Free – a day in the life of a plastic detox, visit www.mcsuk.org/news/MCS-Live-Plastic-Free-Book

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