The Final Straw declares war on plastic waste

United Kingdom
12 – Responsible consumption and production
14 – Life Below Water

There is no age limit to taking action on behalf of the planet! This is evidenced by 70-year-old Pat Smith, who is fighting to put an end to the plastic waste, which is polluting beaches and destroying marine life in Cornwall.


Each year, over 13-million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans


For the past fifty years, global plastic consumption has risen by a factor of twenty. One million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, but less than 10% of this plastic is correctly recycled. In the United Kingdom, there are over 3,000 pieces of waste per kilometre of beach. The county of Cornwall was one of the first regions to declare a state of climate emergency.


Pat Smith, a local protagonist in the ecological battle


At 70 years of age, Pat Smith has singlehandedly arranged for the removal of plastic waste from 52 Cornish beaches in the space of a year! Setting up The Final Straw association in Charlestown, on Cornwall’s south coast, she organises groups of volunteers to clean up the beaches. At the same time, the association is campaigning with local entrepreneurs to rid Cornwall of single-use plastic. Over 200 businesses have already joined the movement and it is Pat’s dream to ban plastic straws. An object that is commonplace in contemporary culture, it has become a major ecological scourge. Indeed, the single-use plastic straw cannot be recycled as it is too small. The European Union is set to ban its use by 2021.


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