Sailing Towards Plastic Free Oceans.

It isn’t a secret that our oceans are polluted with plastic, causing devastation to sea-life and the environment. It is a problem that many bury their heads in the sand about, but one young woman has been using her status to bring as much attention as possible to the issue. 

Olympic Gold Medalist sailor, Hannah Mills, shot to fame at the Rio Olympics when she was 28 years old, having won her first ever gold medal. It was during her time in Rio that Hannah saw for herself the destruction that plastic was causing, and decided she needed to be the voice of change before it was too late. 

And so, ‘The Big Plastic Pledge’ was born. An inspirational global campaign to expel single-use plastics from the sports industry. Calling on athletes and sport fans alike, supporters are asked to pledge to three actions in a bid to reduce how much single-use plastics they use in their daily lives. 

The powerful initiative has gained support throughout the world, with over 100 countries having seen people take part. 

Quoting from The Big Plastic Pledge website, Hannah said: “Sailing has taken me all over the world and for almost 2 decades I have noticed plastic in the oceans, mainly when it gets stuck under our boat and stops us dead in our tracks. So much of it was single use plastic. It was something I couldn’t ignore anymore, I had to act. And so, over the past few years I have set about, along with my team mate Eilidh Mcintyre, trying to reduce the single use plastic from our Olympic campaign.”

“Single-use plastic often ends up in the environment, including our waterways and landfill. It takes hundreds of years to break down – often having only been used for a few minutes. Other single use plastic seeps into the oceans, rivers and waterways, destroying marine life with a lasting impact on our oceans health, One which we are only just starting to understand, What effect this might be having in humans, we don’t know yet.” 

“If we kill the ocean, we will inadvertently be causing the extinction of the human race. Plastic contamination is a major contributor to the destruction of ocean life. The ocean provides 50% of the oxygen we breath and regulates climate change.”

Supported by the International Olympic Committee, Hannah has also been raising awareness by highlighting chilling facts, taking to her website to state: 

  • Almost 50% of plastic production is single use plastic. 
  • 1 million plastic water bottles sold worldwide every minute.
  • Plastic packaging makes up about 40% of all plastic production globally. 

Encouraging people to take the pledge, they said: “By taking the Pledge today you join olympians, elite athletes, sports fans, fun runners and other individuals who have been touched by sport in some way. All on a mission together.” 

To get involved, participating people must choose a minimum of 3 selections from the following: 

  • Take my own water bottle.
  • Take my own coffee and beverage cups, food containers and cutlery.
  • Refuse plastic straws.
  • Leave no trace
  • Refuse single-use plastic packaging and bags.
  • Encouraging sports clubs and events to find alternatives to single use plastic.
  • Make your own event merchandise. 
  • Make informed choices.
  • Spread the word of Big Plastic Pledge. 

To find out more about Hannah Mills’ campaign, and to make a pledge, click here.