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A day at the beach: Charles & Camilla attend Ocean Plastics Awareness Day in Newquay

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall attended an Ocean Plastics Awareness Day to learn about the efforts of local charities at Fistral Beach in Newquay on Wednesday.

Participating in today’s event included Surfers Against Sewage and the Marine Conservation Society whose goal is to combat marine litter.

Ocean Plastics Awareness Day highlights the work of local volunteer groups tackling marine debris on the beachfront as well as the work done by businesses and NGOs to encourage recycling and prevent plastics from entering the marine environment.

Coordinated by Surfers Against Sewage with Clean Cornwall and the Marine Conservation Society, the event strived to promote a ‘circular ocean economy’ where plastics are a resource rather than waste.

Through community action, volunteering, conservation, education and scientific research, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) is an environmental charity that defends the UK’s oceans, waves and beaches for all to enjoy safely.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) works to secure a future for the seas and to save our endangered marine wildlife before it becomes lost permanently. Prince Charles became President of the MCS in 1989.

Since 2006, Clean Cornwall has partnered with local businesses, community groups, voluntary and public sector organisations sharing one common goal: to keep Cornwall litter free and clean.

In 2010, The Prince of Wales established the International Sustainability Unit to promote an agreement on how to resolve some of the key environmental challenges facing the world.

Various pop-up tents featured displays by clean beach groups from across the South West. During Wednesday’s engagement, 50 local school children participated in marine litter art workshops led by Surfers Against Sewage.

The royal couple viewed a giant whale made from plastic bottles and a giant marine litter sieve during their visit.

Camilla spent time with the youngsters to learn more about the educational activities whilst Prince Charles joined a reception at Rick Stein’s restaurant above the beach.

At the reception, Charles met stakeholders delivering local, national and international initiatives, who discussed various possibilities to protect the marine environment, strengthen the circular ocean economy and put a stop to the litter in Cornwall. Camilla joined her husband later at the reception.

Charles, through The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit, has worked previously to battle the growing problem of marine litter.

The Prince Of Wales strongly backs the vital need to protect the health of our oceans. In March 2015, he spoke about the destruction caused by marine plastics at an International Sustainability Unit event in Washington DC.

During his speech, Charles commented: “One issue that we absolutely cannot ignore is that of the increasing quantity of plastic waste in the marine environment. I was horrified to learn that, according to recent research, we collectively allow as much as 8 million tonnes of plastic to enter the oceans every year.

He continued: “Today, almost half of all marine mammals now have plastic in their gut and I know I am not the only person haunted by the tragic images of seabirds, particularly albatrosses, that have been found dead, washed up on beaches after mistaking a piece of plastic for a meal. The fact that a recent study estimates that by 2025 there will be one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish in the sea is not what I call encouraging!”

Wednesday ends the official engagements in Cornwall. On Thursday, The Prince of Wales in his role as President of he Royal Agricultural University, will present degrees and meet students at a graduation ceremony at The Church of St. John the Baptist in Cirencester.

Photo credit: Andy Genders via Flickr

Featured photo credit: JonnyBoy2005 via Flickr

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