26 April 2022

Earth Day 2022: Keeping it Clean

Earth Day 2022: Keeping it Clean

Oliver Sterno from Plastic Free Eastbourne ran a talk on sustainability for Business Services students from East Sussex College for Earth Day (22 April)

Retired Geography teacher, Oliver, was inspired by David Attenborouh’s Blue Planet, and became Community Leader of Plastic Free Eastbourne. His passion and enthusiasm was evident as he spoke to Business Services students about creating a more sustainable future.

End Plastic Pollution is one of this year’s Earth Day campaigns, and includes a handy tool to calculate your own Plastic Footprint. Oliver’s work includes ‘Adopt a Beach’ in Eastbourne, which sees each of the town’s 94 (count them!. They start from Holywell and run to Sovereign Harbour and are sectioned by groynes) beaches adopted by individuals and businesses who help maintain them. Aside from Plastic Free Eastbourne, Oliver also coordinates Refill Eastbourne. This is a campaign being developed by the charity City to Sea. Part of this national campaign is the Refill app, which lets you find refillable water stations across the town, ideal for when you’re out and about, the aim of which is to eradicate the use of single use plastic.

“Water in a plastic bottle costs 500 times more than getting water from the tap,” Oliver educated students on his visit, a statistic taking into account the lengthy packaging, transportation and advertising and retail sale of said item. “We want to promote the use of biomass plastic, a different approach to manufacturing plastic, as biomass (plant based product) is biodegradable."

Biomass plastic may have been a new term to students, but is one that sparked discussion and gives real food for thought.

“We are at a tipping point with climate change,” Oliver continued. “As science develops, we can find alternative options. Eastbourne wants to be carbon neutral by 2030 and it takes small steps to get there. It’s about all of us making small changes.”

Students were encouraged to think about their plastic consumption, from drink bottles to clothing.

Emma Hartup, Head of Curriculum for Business Services, said, “Oliver’s talk was really inspirational for our Business Services students. A lot of the industries these students will be working in - travel, hairdressing, catering - will have eco-friendly practices in place. These students are the next generation workforce, so we are encouraging them to think about their own practice at College. How much do we throw away? What can we do to make ourselves more eco-friendly? Volunteering with businesses like Plastic Free Eastbourne iis another way to help and enables students to complete their work experience. We are grateful for Oliver taking the time to visit us today.”

Earth Day encourages everyone to invest in our planet, educate on climate and environmental literacy and this year includes the campaign End Plastic Pollution. The campaign draws attention to the harmful effects of plastic in our environment, both on marine life and human health, the damage to our landscape, and empowers us to make a difference.

Plastic Free Eastbourne presents the Spring Water Festival in the town (13-22 May), which features walks, conservation, health and wellbeing, and celebratory arts events centred around our most precious resource: water.