How the Cornish Plastic Pollution Coalition tackled the issue of marine pollution during the Coronavirus pandemic

The misuse of PPE will be among CPPC campaigns moving forward in 2021, Image by CPPC

Environmental organisations in Cornwall tackling the issue of marine plastics and pollution have launched a report about the impact of Covid-19 on Cornwall’s unique and powerful beach cleaning network. Despite the difficulties, the report flags that the work has not diminished, and, with a new logo and new ideas, the Cornish Plastic Pollution Coalition (CPPC) is determined to strengthen their campaign in 2021.

CPPC is a network comprising of over 50 environmental organisations, local marine conservation groups, beach cleaning groups and marine science experts, collectively representing tens of thousands of people in Cornwall and beyond. Each year the Coalition reports on its successes and achievements and have collected over 60 tonnes of rubbish from around Cornwall in the past five years.

In addition to beach cleans, the Group campaigns on key issues and threats related to pollution in our seas and around our coast such as balloon releases and the ban of biobeads, and also runs an extensive education programme.

Items found on beach cleans during the summer of 2020

Items found on beach cleans during the summer of 2020, Image by Friends of Portheras Cove

Delia Webb, CPPC co-founder and coordinator, says: ‘2020 proved a challenging year for our organisations, with the loss of face-to-face activities and events hitting hard in a number of ways. But there have been positives, and throughout the pandemic our members have shown massive resilience by developing new ways of helping to care for the environment, wildlife, and each other. Going ‘online’ for meetings and education work has enabled us to extend our reach way beyond Cornwall, and we have been delivering free sessions to schools across the UK and overseas. The overall reduction in groups’ and individuals’ carbon footprints were also identified as a massive bonus.’

COVID also brought about new challenges for Cornwall’s environmental network, as communities experience excess littering, anti-social behaviour, and wildlife disturbance.

Delia Webb, Cornish Plastic Pollution Coalition co-founder and coordinator, on a beach clean

Delia Webb, Cornish Plastic Pollution Coalition co-founder and coordinator, on a beach clean

The work of CPPC is more important now than ever, as we continue to experience an increase of pressure on our coastline from increased visitor numbers. 2020 has given us the chance to revaluate our key objectives moving forward which will help us tackle new challenges we face as a result of COVID. We will be renewing our campaigns on Single Use Plastics, & PPE and taking out our free education sessions to wider and more diverse audiences via online web-conferencing platforms.
The new Cornish Plastic Pollution Coalition logo

The group are not only facing the future with new ideas and determination, but also a new image, and have worked with Cornish environmentally-conscious design company, Leap, who have supported the development of CPPC’s new and improved Logo.

Delia says: ‘Thanks to Leap, we now have an image for CPPC which represents better the expertise, value, and power of the network of environmental organisations who come together in Cornwall to raise awareness of the issues of marine litter, plastic pollution, and its impact on wildlife. Covid may have stalled areas of work in 2020, but with our new logo and refreshed ideas we will ensure 2021 and beyond is even better that anything we have done before.’

You can download CPPC's Impact Report 2020 from their website, where impacts during the pandemic have been summarised along with individual reflections from members. Follow the coalition’s continued impact and work in the community on Facebook and Twitter.