Do it for David

Rebecca Price

Read the story behind the growing campaign combating the issue of plastic pollution.

Wrapping my scarf tighter around my neck, I begin scanning the sand for bits of plastic and litter. Almost immediately I found an area where hundreds of plastic bottle tops had been washed up. It was a cold Christmas day, and our family had decided to walk the dogs at our local beach – Hells Mouth (Porth Neigwl) in North Wales. As always, we brought with us some bags to collect the plastic and debris that had been dropped by visitors or washed up with the tide. We had been doing small beach cleans and litter picks during our walks for some time now. Looking at the ground, we saw endless amounts of plastic littering our beloved beach. Plastic bottles, bags, straws, and food containers filled our bags until we couldn’t carry anymore. We also noticed tiny fragments of plastic that had obviously been broken down and deposited onto the beach by the sea. We felt heartbroken to see our beach littered with so much plastic, and an increasing frustration built inside of us as we realised the enormity of the issue, not just here, but around the world. There must be something more we could do.

As we looked at our bags of rubbish we thought “What if everybody just picked up some plastic whilst on their daily walk, surely that would clear up a lot”. It was such a simple idea; but why would anybody listen to us? Then we thought about our own inspiration for looking after our environment – Sir David Attenborough. We had been watching David’s programmes on the BBC for years, but it was the revolutionary ‘Blue Planet II’ that really inspired us to take action against plastic pollution. We thought “Well, they might not do it for us, but they might do it for David!”. And thus, the ‘Do it for David’ campaign was born!

Photos: Do it for David

We have organised several litter picks in towns along canals and rivers as well as beach cleans. However, our campaign largely encourages people to pick up plastic within their local community when they go for a walk, as the majority of plastic which ends up in the ocean is actually blown from inland rivers and communities (ACS, 2017). Clean ups are a great way to help protect our oceans from plastic pollution, and they don’t have to take long! You can collect a lot of plastic in just two minutes.

However, we know that picking up plastic alone is not going to solve the issue of plastic pollution. The key is education; encouraging people to reduce their plastic consumption in the first place; and putting pressure on businesses and manufacturers to eliminate plastic products and packaging. If plastic isn’t produced or used in the first place, it wouldn’t be floating out in our oceans where it harms our wildlife and washes up on our beautiful beaches! Do it for David has encouraged numerous businesses to reduce their plastic footprint and has motivated people to become more mindful in their consumption of it. We have met with councillors, written to supermarkets, given talks at schools, held plastic-awareness days, spoken on radio stations, and even featured on ‘The One Show’! People all over the world have responded to our campaign, being inspired to reduce their consumption of plastic and helping us to clean up our beautiful world. We have even received a personal letter from Sir David Attenborough himself thanking us for a scrapbook we sent him on his birthday about our campaign! We are completely overwhelmed by the response.

Photos: Do it for David

We realise the world cannot live without SOME plastic, after all it was manufactured to be incredibly durable and versatile; but there really is no need for single-use plastics. It’s time for change. We created this problem, and now it’s time to fix it. We live in a beautiful world, and it’s up to us to protect it. Do it for yourself, do it for future generations, Do it for David!

Photo: Do it for David

Photo: Do it for David

Plastic Not Fantastic, part of our Research Series, highlights recent research efforts into the effects of plastic on marine life, and showcases organisations, individuals and initiatives fighting against the plastic tide

If you’d like to join Do it for David or to find out more, head to their Facebook page and become part of a community of over 3,000 people dedicated to fight the plastic pollution problem.

If you’ve enjoyed this article from Becky, follow Do it for David here @doitfordavidofficial and check out their website where Becky and Mandy blog about plastic-free tips, information and the latest news on plastic.

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