University of Plymouth student Emily Stevenson is hoping to change the way people think about marine litter.
The 21-year-old is currently completing the final year of a BSc (Hons) Marine Biology course, with her dissertation focusing on the presence of plastic pollution within our seas and the impact it is having on marine wildlife.
But at the same time, she has helped her dad Rob launch a community interest company – Beach Guardian – to educate people about the role they can play in reducing the impact of litter and marine debris on our coastlines.
The organisation only began as a page on Facebook, launched in October 2017 and through which the family shared details of the items they and friends found during beach cleans close to their home in North Cornwall.
But in part thanks to a series of amazing finds – including intact crisp packets dating back several decades – her efforts have gained international attention.
Emily’s quest to try and tackle the problem have been sparked by her own passion for the coast, which was ignited during family holidays to Cornwall and has grown since they moved to a village near Padstow when she was 10. She said:
“Whenever we used to come to Cornwall, I always loved spending hours and days on the beach. But when I see something on the beach that really shouldn’t be there, like a piece of litter, it really upsets me.