The plastic pollution crisis cannot be resolved in isolation. It will take an integrated and holistic approach that engages numerous stakeholders and that’s what the CHaPS Programme is all about. It will look at six key areas:
Good science and factual data is essential in order to be able to drive policy and influence change. Through the CHaPs programme we will be working alongside undergraduates and postgraduates from local universities over a prolonged period in order to build on the existing knowledge we have regarding the scale and impact of the plastic pollution. The first stage of this was a citizen science programme to identify the amount of plastic in the region.
Education is crucial in order to bring about change. We are developing a number of activities in support of this strategy:
- Information boards about plastic pollution and what individuals can do about it.
- Talks in schools and local organisations such as sailing clubs, highlighting the issues and what can be done. We have recently undertaken a presentation to the Friends of Chichester Harbour.
- Information walks in conjunction with local conservation groups and the National Trust.
We will be engaging with the local community to look at ways to address the plastic pollution issue. While litter is regularly picked up, the microplastics that are having an impact on ecosystems are not. We are going to be developing new ideas that will enable visitors to become involved. This will include nurdle collection competitions, the provision of sieves and disposal sites for plastic waste collected.
If you want people to replace or reduce the amount of plastic in their lives then you need to provide alternatives. We are doing this in a number of ways:
- Organisational plastic audits. By looking at the plastic use within a school or business and applying a cost to it can be a simple way to identify where alternatives might save money and the planet.
- Encouraging local business to offer discounts for customers using their own packaging for fresh products.
- Providing a database of alternative online stores.
Involving as many people as possible is essential. We will establish a partnership network along with a steering committee from local stakeholders in conjunction with Just One Ocean to identify priorities for funding and support. Information about the activities will be distributed and a web page developed where people can become involved.
This is not limited to the local business but also potential supporting organisations from further afield who might have an interest in the region.
There is already existing legislation about littering and pollution. We want to make sure that those rules are being adhered to, enforced and are effective.