The issue of plastics pollution in our oceans was brought into sharp focus by the BBC series Blue Planet II.
Some of the weight of blame may have seemed lifted with the reports just ten rivers that account for more than 90% of the waste.
Given the sheer volume of plastic waste being discussed, the 10% from everywhere else is still a huge volume of plastic trash floating about.
The numbers seem incredible: a reported five trillion individual pieces, weighing a total of 268,000 tonnes. When the numbers are so big, it’s difficult to take in the full scale of the problem of plastic waste in the world’s oceans.
Truth is that no one knows where the overwhelming volume of plastic entering our oceans goes.
What we do know is that this is not a new problem, just one that has suddenly been thrust to the fore of attention.
The issues and consequences have been highlighted before, by groups such as the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network.
Others too have been working quietly for years.
Only in the wake of Blue Planet II has some of this work been brought to the fore, for example with a look (£) at a long standing UK group that has been working quietly, steadily, locally, since 2005; the Neptune Army of Rubbish Cleaners in Wales. These scuba-diving litter pickers have salvaged a mountain of material that has been fly-tipped off one of Britain’s wildest and most beautiful coastlines. They have recovered lawnmowers, mobile phones, chairs, a kitchen sink and even a car.
Perhaps the work of these groups is small; but it is more than talking. It is action.
Included among the items the Neptune Army recovers are tangled mats of fishing line laced with weights and hooks; angling debris.
In Wales, along with Neptune’s Army, the Welsh Federation of Sea Anglers produced leaflets to raise awareness of the issue; identifying undersea hazards and set up recycling bins for unwanted angling gear.
Great those groups take action, but at the end of the day it is everyone’s individual responsibility to do their bit. Each and every sea angler can make a difference by using bio-degradable fishing line; or use hooks that will straighten to minimise losses if they get snagged.
Angling Clubs could incorporate a beach tidy when organising events, and adopt a ‘leave nothing but footprints code’ https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-does-take-nothing-but-pictures-leave-nothing-83305 emphasising making a minimal impact on the environment.
Again, SSACN has simple guidance on good practice which is downloadable (and ready for printing by any group).
Important too for junior anglers to learn early that “if you can carry it to the beach, you can carry the leftovers back.” Any angling event or coaching session should finish with a tidy-up.
Small steps: thinking global, acting local.
Action has to start somewhere.
Everyone, including anglers, can do their bit to reduce plastics pollution in our oceans.
Dreamstore would be happy to publicise local efforts at plastics cleanup by anglers or angling clubs at their local fishing areas. If you have any photos of initiatives you’ve been running locally, or snap any pics in the year ahead, get in touch though our contact page.