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EditorialsUp Front 10/18

Up Front 10/18

September has traditionally been a good month for highlighting environmental issues. Wikipedia lists no less than ten special days throughout the month from ‘International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer’ to ‘World Environmental Health Day’. In the past we have had ‘Zero Emissions Day’; ‘Car Free Day’; ’ Ecological Debt Day’ and even ‘World Rivers Day’. But what a month it’s been for environmental housekeeping this year. On September 8th a Dutch student saw the launch in California of his idea for taking rubbish out of the ocean. 24-year-old Boyan Slat managed to raise more than $30 million to build a machine that he hopes will collect some of the plastic that is clogging up our oceans. The ‘Ocean Cleanup’ system, known as ‘System 001’, headed offshore for a two-week trial before continuing its journey toward the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The team behind the project hope that the first plastic will be collected and returned to land within 6 months. ‘Ocean Cleanup’ was soon followed by the ‘RemoveDEBRIS’ project to clean up space junk. From James Bond movies to news coverage, most of us have seen satellites used to monitor movements or pin-point targets for military manoeuvres. But now they are making headlines for cleaning up their own mess. A satellite recently deployed a net to capture a shoebox-sized object that the vehicle had released a few seconds earlier. Built by the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey, the satellite also has a harpoon that can spear objects, as well as a drag sail to help slow down debris and make them fall to Earth faster. Back here on earth, on September 22nd, the Co-op announced an end to single-use plastic. The company will see around 60 million plastic carrier bags removed in a phased rollout and replaced with an environmentally-friendly compostable alternative. Explaining the launch, Jo Whitfield, Retail Chief Executive at Co-op, said: ‘The price of food wrapped in plastic has become too much to swallow.’ She went on to explain that the Co-op had been founded on the concept of righting wrongs and that we currently face huge global challenges. With huge initiatives such as this, it might be easy to forget that we can all peck away at global challenges. In Bridport, businesses such as Waste Not Want Not and The Green Weigh offer alternatives to some of the ridiculous packaging that comes from many of our shopping options—just two of the many local initiatives that deserve support, whatever the month.

 

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