It is believed that there are currently 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean, 269,000 tons of which float on its surface. Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) is a movement dedicated to the eradication of this and to the protection and preservation of the United Kingdom’s beaches and marine life. Formed in 1990 by a group of Cornish surfers, it has since grown into one of the UK’s most active and successful environmental charities.
SAS’s latest campaign is using a 30-ft warship made out of ocean plastic from around the UK's coastline to communicate a message about a growing, continent-sized island of plastic rubbish – the North Pacific Gyre – floating in the North Pacific. The largest ocean garbage site in the world, it contributes to the death of one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals annually.
A public call to action, the warship was constructed from approximately three tons of plastic collected from beaches across the UK and is situated on Marazion beach, along the scenic Cornwall Coastline. The campaign is also seeking to rebrand the North Pacific Gyre as ‘Wasteland’ and position it as ‘the world’s newest and most threatening country.’
This area of man-made marine debris is rapidly growing from the plastics we discard every day, and according to Surfers Against Sewage’s chief executive Hugo Tagholm, it’s one of the most catastrophic man-made disasters ever. “Five times the size of the UK, Wasteland is growing and threatens to destroy us and our planet, yet it is a 'country' not many know about,” he says.
Marine plastic pollution is now Surfers Against Sewage’s top priority and it is the hopes of the organisation that their warship installation and Wasteland campaign will spur ordinary citizens to take action. Says Tagholm, “We hope that many will join the Resistance to stop the flow of plastic that is feeding Wasteland.”