Fishing net pollution 'can be tracked'

| 16th May 2019
Blue Marine Foundation's Safegear initiative to stop fishing gear being lost gets funding.

It's important for us to tackle unnecessary plastic both in our shops but also in the wider world.

Schemes to tag fishing nets so they are not lost at sea and use fungi to break down rubbish are among the winners of a £1 million fund to tackle plastic pollution.

Waitrose & Partners has revealed five projects it will be supporting through its Plan Plastic - The Million Pound Challenge initiative, with money awarded over a year to schemes which can demonstrate an impact on reducing plastic.

The scheme, which has been set up with environmental charity Hubbub, attracted 150 applications.

Mussels

The five ideas selected for funding include the Blue Marine Foundation's Safegear initiative to stop fishing gear being lost in the ocean by attaching beacons to buoys to make nets visible and allow them to be monitored, tracked and retrieved.

The Onion Collective and Biohm are creating a plastic biorecycling facility in Somerset that will use mycelium - a vegetative part of a fungus or fungus-like bacteria - to break down synthetic plastic waste and turn it into new products.

Women's Environmental Network is to receive a share of the fund for a "plastic-free periods" campaign with City to Sea to bring about behaviour change that reduces pollution from sanitary products.

Plymouth Marine Laboratory is running a project to develop the use of "bioreefs" - beds or rafts of mussels deployed in estuaries and coastal sites to filter out microplastics and test if they will work to reduce the problem.

Pollution

The Youth Hostel Association is installing water bottle refill stations in 60 major hostels across England and Wales, eradicating single-use plastic bottles from packed lunches, cafes, bars and vending machines.

The £1 million fund was raised from the sale of 5p carrier bags, which have now been removed from shops, and will be split between the five winners. They will each receive funding of between £150,000 and £300,000.

Tor Harris, from Waitrose & Partners, said: "It's important for us to tackle unnecessary plastic both in our shops but also in the wider world.

"All these inspirational projects have the ability to create real impact in tackling environmental issues and encouraging behaviour change so we can collectively achieve our goal of reducing plastic pollution."

This Author

Emily Beament is the environment correspondent for the Press Association.

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