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The Wave of Plastic Pollution is a problem – @AdamManning of @GreenHampshire & @rwscarter of @CrowdLeaf

Plastic in our natural environment has become an urgent issue that our society needs to address and Ryan recently focused on this in his once a month CrowdLeaf radio slot with Xan Phillips on VoiceFM 103.9. (This is on from 8pm on the first Thursday of the month.) Plastic in the form of nurdles and plastic products are a serious problem for marine life, beach life and for the food system.
Many people who believe they are being as good to the environment as they can be do not knowingly pollute the seas with plastic or other products. However, plastic fibres from polyester and acrylic clothing are polluting the seas on an industrial scale. One 6kg wash produces 140,000 fibres from polyester-cotton blend, half a million polyester fibres and nearly 3/4 of a million acrylic fibres.
If each and every house is doing this just once a week that is an awfully large quantity and the rate at which people throw away clothes is pandemic. It is worse to throw these away than it is to wash them and the onus should be on the producers of such items to change the material to stop the pollution at source.
There are alternatives that companies can and should be looking at such as natural products, lyocell made from trees, leather made from Pineapple and more… and we as consumers need to demand these.

One important way forward is to take advantage of producers who are using alternative products to traditional plastics.
These scary numbers are just the beginning. Micro fibres from soaps, body wash and cosmetic products are also washing down our drains into the seas. Recently a plastic soup of millions of pieces of plastic was discovered in our oceans. Earlier this year, 38 million pieces of plastic were found on Henderson Island. What is this doing to our natural habitats? Our animal welfare laws wouldn’t allow this for pets but for wildlife, sadly we have different standards.

The problem of plastic pollution often becomes clear during the course of a litter pick. Litter picking as a form of environmental activism has grown markedly in popularity in recent years. Individuals are taking the initiative to clear up rubbish, as are groups of many different sizes. This includes volunteer groups who look after particular areas, such as Friends of Weston Shore, larger and more established organisations such as the Keep Britain Tidy or the Marine Conservation Society and now new, online initiatives, such as #2minutebeachclean and Litterati.

Keen litter pickers will spend a lot of time picking up plastic items in an event of this sort. Their work is vital in clearing up our natural environment as plastic will, if not removed, last effectively forever.
At a larger scale than plastic fibres, this includes plastic bottles, for water or soft drinks. As well as spoiling the natural beauty of an area, they can be a danger to wildlife. Mice and shrews can climb into them, perhaps spotting a mouthful of water to drink inside, and then be unable to climb up out again, leaving them trapped. Other animals, similarly looking for a drink, can trap their snouts or beaks in a plastic bottle, making them unable to shake them off.

Plastic ring binders are another serious problem. These are the loops of plastic that are typically used to keep groups of four or six beer cans together. They can snare both land living animals like foxes, birds and even snakes but also, if they are caught by the tide, turtles, dolphins and other sea life. There is a famous case of a young turtle entwined in a twisted six pack ring whose body deformed as it grew, until its body ultimately became a figure of eight, the ring still stuck around its unnaturally narrow waist. If they are not removed from the environment, they pose a danger to wildlife.

Cotton buds are another persistent problem. These small lengths of plastic tubing are all over our beaches, washed up by the tide. People use cotton buds to clean their ears and noses or for arts and crafts, household cleaning and other uses round the house. It seems that after they have been used, some people throw them down the toilet to dispose of them. The cotton buds then go through our sewage system, which is not designed for such products. Later, they are flushed out to sea only to ultimately end up washed up on our shores, without the fluffy cotton bits at either end, which will have disintegrated in the sewage system. Surveys by the Marine Conservation Society indicate that 60% of sewage related beach litter is from cotton buds. Just don’t throw them down the toilet!

Nurdles are another form of plastic pollution, especially on our beaches. These are tiny beads of plastic, about the size of lentils, used in the creation of plastic products. They end up in our natural areas, including our shores, from spills or accidents while they are being shipped from place to place in the production process. Nurdles, like the plastic fibres we are learning about, represent a serious pollution problem, both in the water and on land. They attract and concentrate other pollutants to them. Like all plastic, they can fragment and breakdown into smaller pieces, becoming harder to handle and remove. Animals of all sorts can mistake nurdles for food like fish eggs or seeds, especially in the water, and this can make them sick or kill them.

Part of the problem with nurdles in our natural environment is that their small size makes them difficult to remove. An average litter picker will be unable to pick them up. Chesil Bay in Southampton, a beautiful part of the shore in the city, has a particular nurdle pollution problem. In some patches this is so bad, there seems to be more nurdles than soil.

Nurdles and other plastic debris often ends up in being deposited in natural areas because human created parts of the environment, such as sea walls, docks or piers are hard surfaces. When the plastic debris comes into contact with these, the nurdles, cotton buds and so forth, are deflected away. As a result, when they come to rest in a natural area, this will be where they stay. So, nurdles and other plastic debris tend to build up on a natural area of shoreline.

There is an urgent need to take action at each stage of the plastic production process so that our natural environment is not ruined in the way that has been building up for years.






#Green issues are also a diplomacy issue: towards a #Green #Global #Diplomacy… by @MarIntroini

The digital sculpture “Mother morning” shows the hidden treasure of climate change action: the strength of diplomacy. A pillar that is within activists, environmental organizations and leaders however, is not being used in its full potential and there is not a consolidated green diplomacy. Traditional channels of diplomacy are not enough and even COP21 shows that its possible we urgently need to rebuild a diplomatic sense of global green joint action.



Green issues needs “power of influence” that takes shape with a solid structure around diplomacy. Commitment from civil society is important but could easily be transformed in a useless resource if is not focused in a strategy encompassing global leaders and institutions.

Under current crisis of leadership and institutions particularly at global level, is very difficult to build a sphere of influence. Global institutions are not reliable to assure the sustainability of green initiatives and work as a defense against financial private interests. Current trend from US of destroying a “green vision” are making universal attempts very challenging for building a green diplomacy. The threat to abandon COP21 is a tangible expression of its boycott.

Is it clear that a weak leadership leads to a diplomacy failure hence reducing the levels of influence below minimum standards. Making of the political stage the only way-out to achieve results. For getting to a green culture is paramount to build around several pillars do not just rely on politics. That’s one of the main factors to support the development of a “green diplomacy” as there is not a tangible link private-civil-society-financial world-politicians and citizens interests. There are common interests but not a good and strong diplomacy able to link all this pillars around a common goal. Is it so, that political decisions like climate change denier Donald Trump are more harmful that ever and it looks closer to a dictatorship decision rather to a democratic elected leader. Erasing past ideological Administration focus constitutes a different nature from denial what the majority of the citizens are demanding. Indeed, 7 of 10 Americans want to emphasize alternative energy (not oil, gas and coal). That means democracy. There is no room for debate when there are authoritarian political decisions that undermine citizenship majority will.

If the argumentation is that there are also financial interests around clean energies there is also better and worse interests around remain in the same stage of contamination that is killing the planet. Scientifically and by common sense climate change devastating impact is being proven along the last 50 years.

Becoming sustainable shouldn’t remain just a political decision above citizenship´s interests. Mass ignorance and short termism is not an excuse for not proceeding. Even with a different focus but without erasing all green strategies without giving an alternative model for current climate threats.

In a surprisingly political momentum of climate change denial, an intense work of influence becomes paramount to overcome this overwhelming tendency to destroy global initiatives and it is the development of a global green diplomacy that could rescue us from this chaotic and threatening momentum for climate change action.

The only way to become resilient is to gather together around a global green diplomacy more than a green agreement. In which, leaders, institutions and civil societies participate in a permanent basis of joint action and a structure –not necessary formal- in which commitment with green becomes influence. Green political parties are a good expression of this attempt, although it needs to move one step further and become real experts in diplomacy to become real influencers. Building a global diplomacy on green issues from the election of strong and trained leaders able to be resilient by themselves towards a system that tends to absorb them.

Global green diplomacy: a new challenging ground that needs to give birth to a new generation of leaders able to grow strongly and steady to reshape global institutions and growth towards a new recycled life.







Announcement of a regular Green Show on @VoiceFMradio by @rwscarter

Some of you have already listened to @rwscarter on VoiceFm recently, some of you are so dedicated that you have heard both of his appearance so far. Credit where it is due, that cannot have been as easy as listening to Adam from Green Hampshire or Denise from ‘Eco Hair and Beauty‘. Both the earlier show and the now regular slot. On that occasion (my first VoiceFm appearance) I was with the wonderful Denise Baden from Southampton University who was discussing the great initiative ‘Eco Hair and Beauty’ which have written for us here at @CrowdLeaf before. She also discussed the sustainability agenda in Cuba- which she tied in rather nicely with her musical ‘Fidel’. More of that can be found here along with a link to that guest appearance below.




Like wise the new green show on VoiceFM – hosted by Xan Philips and the green agenda taken forward by @rwscarter on Xan’s ‘The Business show’ every first Thursday of the month from 8pm- 9pm.

The December the 1st episode can be found above – With the inside scoop on all things Christmas ,Autumn Statement, local green campaigns, national crowdfunding news and the green agenda and insights, from £5 notes to electric vans.

As @rwscarter is now a regular guest- the first in the sequence of Green issues radio appearances os merely the start, we want your green news, campaigns and insights to share live on air. At the moment this scheduled be broadcast every first Thursday of each month from 8 PM however we are both human and sometime this may change, so keep an eye on our twitter and on here. You can tune in on 103.9FM or find us online at : http://www.voicefmradio.co.uk   . If you happen to miss the show but still want to listen, perhaps you want to take us for a train journey, or on a long walk  – there is both a listen live and as you’ve  probably noticed from the links above a ‘listen again’ option.  Thanks as always for being here with us – keep your green news, campaigns, opportunities and more coming our way. Equally there is room for suggested sustainability/green/conservation songs – please do share your suggestions.