BCP Council is determined to reduce single-use plastic on its beaches.
The authority commissioned a report by not-for-profit organisation City to Sea seeking the development of a more sustainable approach at the seafront across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
With responsibility for 15 miles of beaches, the resorts are home to around 400,000 residents and welcome 13 million visitors each year. Holder of more Blue Flags than any other UK local authority, BCP Council currently spends £1 million per year removing waste from its beaches. On average in the UK 425 littered items of plastic are found on every 100m of beach.
City to Sea works with organisations to run behaviour change campaigns highlighting how small actions can make a big difference. They estimate that if just one in 10 residents of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole refilled a water bottle just once a week, over a million plastic bottles a year would be saved.
Proposals in the report focus on the new £2.4million Durley Environmental Innovation Hub, funded by the Coastal Communities Fund.
Cllr Mohan Iyengar, portfolio holder for Tourism and Active Health said: “Coastal councils such as ourselves work continuously to remove litter and care for our beaches. The single-use, throw-away model means it is increasingly difficult for people to make environmentally sound choices.
“By working with experts in their field we aim to develop our understanding of solutions. We need to design reuse back into our operations on the beach using practical solutions that can be delivered both operationally and commercially.
“This report from City to Sea will develop our understanding and bring the Durley Innovation Hub to life as an education space for residents and visitors. Preventing single use plastic in the first place rather than collecting it from our beaches is a strategy underpinned by our ‘Cleaner, Greener, Safer’ initiative.”
Jane Martin, head of development, City to Sea said: “This exciting project is an industry first that we hope will make a real splash on the south coast. It sets out an ambitious three-year plan for BCP Council because we know there are no quick fixes and taking time to understand the issues, trial innovative solutions and share our learning is crucial. Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole will be transformed by this project and offer us real time feedback on how we behave and what works in tackling plastic pollution. Residents here will be leading the country in trialling innovative new products and systems to incentivise reuse and refill to prevent plastic pollution.”
Work on the Durley Environmental Innovation Hub is due to finish in the spring next year.
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