Join the Plastic Challenge

Environment Agency, Keep Britain Tidy and Natural Course launch new campaign to tackle plastic pollution as part of a project connecting the dots between the use of plastics and the impact on marine life in the North West

The Plastic Challenge campaign, supported by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, will encourage residents to reduce, reuse, recycle and responsibly dispose of their plastic.  Residents are encouraged to sign up to the challenge to receive weekly emails throughout August with information, guidance and support and be in with the chance of winning some plastic-free goodies to help them start out on their journey to reduce plastic pollution.

The campaign comes after new research has revealed that many people might not be aware that plastic litter in towns and cities can end up in the Irish Sea, harming the environment and marine life.

A survey conducted by YouGov as part of the project, showed that only one-third (32%) of people surveyed in the North West think that marine plastic comes from overflowing bins in towns and cities and only 43% of people think that plastic litter dropped inland ends up in the sea.

Keep Britain Tidy CEO Allison Ogden-Newton commented:

 “Our new research seems to suggest that many people don’t realise their behaviour inland can have an impact on marine life, sometimes many miles away. However, littered plastic and items flushed down the loo can end up in rivers where they travel to the sea.

“There appears to be a disconnect between our behaviour and the impact on the environment, but that means we all have the power and opportunity to make real and positive change. Even better, we only need to take small and simple steps to have a huge impact.”

Councillor Jim Smith, Executive Member for Environment at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, said:

“TV programmes like the BBC’s Blue Planet documentary have helped to raise awareness of marine plastic pollution, but as this research has highlighted, it’s not widely known that plastic litter from our streets, and plastic waste flushed down our loos, is adding to the problem. As well as that, plastic pollution can also block sewers and contribute to flooding.

We hope that residents of Blackburn with Darwen will sign up to the campaign and the local litter picks and help to prevent plastic pollution from entering the Irish Sea and endangering marine wildlife.”

Residents are encouraged to look out for the many litter picking and river clean events throughout August or to grab a litter picker and bag and help clean up their community.  Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council provide free litter picking kits to residents so they can help keep their community tidy and prevent plastic from entering the river and the ocean.  Local groups from Keep Darwen Tidy and the Noorul Islam Mosque will be running litter pick events and the Ribble Rivers Trust will host four river cleans throughout August. Keep Blackburn Tidy will be encouraging people to sign up to the Plastic Challenge.

You can join the Plastic Challenge here (external website, opens in a new tab): Plastic Challenge | Keep Britain Tidy