People who regularly take a walk on our beach will be well aware of the pollution problems in our oceans which have been brought to prominence recently by David Attenborough in the ‘Blue Planet’ series on the BBC. Some towns in other parts of the country have already taken up the challenge to do something about it as this article in the Guardian explains. A Cornish town has become the first community in the UK to be awarded ‘plastic-free’ status after dozens of residents and business people backed a grassroots scheme aimed at helping clean up oceans and beaches. As part of a campaign being run by the marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), Penzance has been given ‘plastic-free coastlines approved’ status. Shops, cafes and visitor attractions have reduced single-use plastics and children and adults have taken part in beach cleans. The town’s status was confirmed after the Town Council voted to support the initiative. Another 100 communities across the UK are taking part in SAS’s plastic-free coastlines scheme and working towards the status, which has been inspired by the Fair Trade and Transition Town schemes. Rachel Yates, an SAS regional representative in Penzance, said she had been impressed by how keen people were to take part. “Everybody you speak to wants to do something.” she said. “People are contacting us asking what they can do. We haven’t had to chase people.” Among those who have signed up to Plastic Free Penzance is the Cornish Hen Deli Owner Sarah Shaw. She said that she was using biodegradable pots, wooden cutlery, paper straws and cornstarch plates for outside catering jobs. She said: “It’s hugely important because one of the reasons a lot of people live down here is the connection to the sea and the elements. You’re so much more aware of what’s going on that the thought of not doing something about it is awful.” Flo Gibson, manager of the Jubilee open-air pool cafe, said reducing plastics was becoming easier. She said: “People are becoming more aware of plastic and the negative effects. Suppliers are also a lot more aware.” Plastic Free Penzance’s next moves include setting up a plastic-free clinic to spread the word further and speaking to holiday home owners. They will also lobby local supermarket managers, although the emphasis is on changing behaviour on a local level and leaving national campaigning to SAS leaders. To win the plastic free coastlines approved status, Penzance had to complete five objectives set out by SAS such as setting up a steering group and organising beach cleans. Its status was confirmed after Penzance Town Council passed a motion pledging to support all plastic-free initiatives in the area and to lead by example through removing single-use plastics from their own premises. ABERPORTH has its sights set on becoming the first plastic-free village in Wales. More than a dozen people turned up for the first meeting of the Plastic Free Aberporth Steering Committee while local businesses are signing up to get rid of plastic. The local pub, The Ship, has ditched plastic straws, sachets and milk containers while local café Cwtch Glanmordy has pledged to use wooden cutlery, offer a ‘bring your own cup’ coffee service and to use paper straws and sauce bottles. In the village shop, London House Stores, owner Mike Allen has introduced milk in glass bottles and is recycling the empties. Aberporth Community Council have also backed the initiative. Hornsea already has a group that organises beach cleans. Can we extend this to become Yorkshire’s first ‘Plastic-Free’ town? Home Grown Hornsea’s social/discussion night this month at 7.30pm on Tuesday 30th January will explore this possibility. Please come along to Kelpies on Bank Street if you would like to get involved.