Portsmouth is leading the way in campaign to reduce plastic pollution

THE UNIVERSITY of Portsmouth and the city's community are leading the way in the fight against marine pollution from plastics.Â

Tuesday, 31st July 2018, 3:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st July 2018, 3:58 pm

Underwater photographer and university scientist David Jones  has launched an initiative to encourage holidaymakers and community organisations to combine their summer holidays with '˜a spot of scientific research'.

The '˜Big Microplastic Survey' is encouraging beach goers to collect as many pieces of plastic as possible to provide data for research.

Mr Jones said: '˜It is a great way for people who love the beach and care for the environment to get involved in scientific research which can make contributions to environmental policy.'

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One group doing their bit is the Southsea branch of the Marine Conservation Society. Organiser Jane Di Dino runs monthly beach cleans in Southsea and Eastney.  

'˜We carry out a survey every year and the latest showed 52 per  cent of litter left by people was  plastics including cutlery, straws and wrappers,' said Mrs Di Dino.

As temperatures have soared the problem of beach litter has increased. In May the group collected 35kg of rubbish which had almost doubled to 63kg in the recent July beach clean.

'˜One of the main problems for wildlife such as seabirds and seals is entanglement,' added Mrs Di Dino.

In addition to plastics being collected, one of the greatest concerns for Mrs Di Dino and Mr Jones are the microplastics which aren't always visible.

Mr Jones said: '˜One of the biggest global issues is microplastics in our oceans which are getting into marine food chains and potentially affecting human health.'

A UN report has revealed that 99 per cent of seabirds have  ingested  plastic and by 2050 there will be more plastics in our oceans than fish.

'˜Fish ingesting the plastics are then consumed by other marine life such as seals and eventually people,' added Mrs Di Dino. 

The News is running the Final Straw campaign with Final Straw Solent to encourage businesses and individuals to cut back on single-use plastic. The next Southsea beach clean is on August 4. To take part meet at Rocksbys restaurant for a 10am start.