MAKING Lyme Regis a plastic free town could boost pride in the community and have a positive effect on tourism.
That is the view of eco-group Turn Lyme Green, which is encouraging Lyme Regis to join the national campaign to rid coastal towns of plastic pollution.
The Plastic Free Coastlines campaign has received major publicity in the national press in recent weeks. It was set up by Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), a national marine conservation and campaigning charity based in Cornwall, which empowers communities to take action to protect oceans, beaches and wildlife.
Two towns in the UK, Penzance and Tyneside in the north east of England, have already become ‘plastic free’ towns after following a template created by SAS, and a further 180 coastal towns are currently working to fulfil the objectives of the scheme inspired by the recent surge in awareness of plastic pollution.
Turn Lyme Green recently received the initial backing of Lyme Regis Town Council to look further into making the town plastic free.
Councillors described the scheme as an “important initiative” and said they should use the so-called ‘David Attenborough effect’ to their advantage.
There has been a surge in public interest in reducing plastic waste following Sir David Attenborough’s popular ‘Blue Planet II’ television series on the BBC, and councillors felt that promoting the plastic free campaign would help attract eco-friendly tourists.
Residents showing support
Speaking after the meeting, Turn Lyme Green chairman Jo Oliver Smith said: “We believe the town council’s endorsement of the initiative is crucial. Already residents have shown support; more than 50 came to the last beach clean, 16 local businesses have signed up to the water bottle ReFill Scheme, and many are exploring finding substitutes for plastic cups, plates, packaging and straws. There is so much we can do.
“Becoming a ‘plastic free’ town gets residents, businesses, schools and visitors all involved in tackling this plastic scourge of our seas.” “Turn Lyme Green invites anyone interested in helping achieve success for this project to get in touch.
“We are working with a number of other organisations, including Litter Free Coast and Sea, Sustainable Dorset, Litter Free Dorset, but we will need an enthusiastic local action group to help get the scheme off the ground.
“We believe that the efforts to tackle plastic pollution will be well worthwhile, boosting pride in our community and having a positive effect on tourism and all of our visitors.”
Turn Lyme Green promotes sustainable living in Lyme Regis. Set up in 2007, the organisation engages the community in environmental issues. It meets regularly for talks and plans campaigns and events, and collaborates with other environmental groups in Dorset and beyond.