Single use plastics represent an unsustainable use of oil, which is a finite resource. A lot of single use plastic it is unnecessary, as alternatives are available. Reducing our use of these items can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Marine plastics also cause direct impacts on marine species, such as tangling and choking, but also tiny plastic particles and associated toxins are infiltrating all levels of the marine food chain, creating a problem which may impact on generations well into the future.
The Isle of Man government is committed to reducing the amount of single use plastic used within government and on the island. The Single Use Plastics Reduction Plan for the Isle of Man Government provided a lead and the Single Use Plastic Reduction Plan for the Isle of Man Community extends this across the community.
The plastic waste that is collected is either recycled or burnt to turn the energy it contains into electricity. However some plastics do find their way into the environment and it is important to tackle this issue and make littering socially unacceptable.
The Community Plan includes a legislative ban on certain single use plastic items, education and awareness work and several schemes to promote plastic reduction.
The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture also works in partnership with Manx Wildlife Trust and Beach Buddies on initiatives to inform and educate on plastics issues and reduce plastics in the Manx environment. A roadshow display on marine litter is available – contact the DEFA Ecosystem Policy Unit to book it for a period.
How you can make a difference:
- Use reusable items
- Avoid flushing down plastics
- Say no to single use plastics
- Join Beach Buddies or 3 Pieces of Plastic
Beach Cleaning Guide - Nesting Birds
Breeding season for many birds runs from May to August each year.
Lots of birds nest on beaches above the high-tide line. Their nests and eggs are very well camouflaged; so they can easily be trodden on. Follow this guide to help protect nesting birds while beach cleaning.
If people and dogs get too close to a nest it scares the adult birds which stops them from going back to the nest to incubate eggs or feed and protect their chicks.
- Brief volunteers about the possibility of nesting birds; to look out for them & remain at a safe distance
- In breeding season, walk below the High Water Mark (HWM) if you can, to avoid trampling nests
- Really watch out for birds: some make their presence obvious but others quietly move off hoping nests remain undetected
- Don’t drag any materials along areas above the HWM
- Stick to collecting plastic & rubbish, leave wood & seaweed (they create food and shelter)
Fishing for Litter
The Fishing for Litter (FFL) is an initiative where the Isle of Man Government provide fishermen with reusable marine litter sacks to collect rubbish that is caught in nets during normal fishing activities.
Filled bags are emptied into designated quayside bins before the waste is safely taken away. Buckets are also available from harbour offices around the island so crews can prevent any plastic from blowing into the sea when undertaking tasks such as net mending.
Each Isle of Man port is paired with a local school and information from the marine litter collected will be used to educate children about the issue. Children can learn all about the range of waste items found at sea, and the issues that they cause. A Fishing for Litter activity pack can be accessed online.
If you are a fisherman who would like to get involved, sign up and collect a reusable sack from your local harbour office, the Manx Fish Producers Association, Isle of Man Seafood’s limited or alternatively email Plastic@gov.im.