Pupils from a local primary school have taken part in a beach clean at a popular stretch of Northumberland coastline as part of a workshop to teach them about the importance of recycling to help save our oceans.
The children, aged 4-11 from Cambois Primary School, got hands on to collect six bags of plastic waste as well as some more unusual items including a carpet, some discarded fishing net, a lobster pot marker buoy and a large piece of plastic interior from a car from nearby Cambois beach as part of the event organised by the project team behind the North Sea Link Interconnector.
The €2 billion interconnector, which is currently under construction between the UK and Norway with on-shore infrastructure located at Cambois, has so far seen over 271,370 metres of subsea cable installed to connect the energy systems of the two countries. During the course of the installation, contractors were shocked at the amount of plastic waste they found floating in the North Sea, which inspired the project team to take action.
“It’s estimated that over eight million tonnes of plastic is dumped into our oceans each year,” said Sallyanne Barson, communications and stakeholder manager at North Sea Link.
“The state of the plastic crisis across the globe has been well-documented in recent years but to witness the effects of it first-hand and on our doorstep was quite shocking.
“In Europe, over 40 per cent of plastic items are single-use. The improper recycling of these products is adding considerably to the problem with a lot of these items finding their way out to sea.
“We wanted to organise an event which would help to make a difference to the beach in our local area, but that would also help to educate our young people about the importance of recycling.”
North Sea Link enlisted the help of local scuba diving centre, The Fifth Point, to help deliver the workshop.
Blyth-based The Fifth Point, which practices environmentally-conscious diving and carries out monthly survey dives to report vital conservation data back to Project AWARE as part of its ‘Dive Against Debris’ initiative, delivered a special assembly to the pupils ahead of the beach clean.
“It is incredible what you can find washed up on our beaches,” said Nic Emery, managing director at The Fifth Point.
“In areas like Cambois, what you usually expect to find a lot of is plastic bags, bottles, cotton buds and deflated balloons, but in the past, we have also found larger, more industrial-type waste like conveyer belts and plastic sheeting.
“We encourage all of our divers to be environmentally aware and I wanted to share this message with the kids at Cambois Primary School to help them understand how the simple things they can do themselves at home can help to save our oceans from drowning in plastic.”
Marianne Allan, headteacher at Cambois Primary School, added: “The pupils and staff thoroughly enjoyed the day that they spent cleaning up the beach at Cambois.
“While we still have a long way to go to help solve the global plastics crisis, on a local level, projects like this help make a huge difference to our small community so I’d like to thank the North Sea Link project team and Nic from The Fifth Point for doing such a fantastic job.”
The North Sea Link Interconnector is a joint venture between National Grid and Norwegian System Operator Statnett. Set to be the longest interconnector in the world, once operational, the subsea pipeline will transfer renewable energy back and forward between the UK and Norway.