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Surfers Against Sewage Fact File (improved)

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Surfers Against Sewage Fact File (improved)

  1. 1. Name: Chloe Stead *
  2. 2. The client: Overview of the client. Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) are an organization based in the UK, who are dedicated to protecting the ocean from marine litter, sewage pollution, climate change, toxic chemicals, shipping industry and coastal development. Their aim is to preserve the good UK surfing spots, so that the thousands of UK surfers and surfing tourists have somewhere safe and clean to surf. They were formed in 1990 by a group of passionate surfers from the coast villages of St Agnes and Porthtowan, though their campaign quickly became nation wide. SAS first began campaigning on the issues around water quality. With the privatisation of English water companies in 1989, came a great need to improve the bathing water quality. In order to tackle these issues, SAS often hold beach clean up sessions, create petitions, lobby government and provide information to the public. They are funded through membership, donations, grants, merchandise, fundraising events and sponsorship.
  3. 3. The issues: Your client advocates on a number of different yet related issues. SAS campaign on issues such as marine litter, water quality, climate change, all in order to protect the UK’s surf spots. Their aim is to improve the quality of the beaches and sea so that people always have a place to surf. It is estimated that there are over 500,000 surfers in the UK, and so protecting surf spots is an important issue for many people. SAS aim to protect these surf spots through campaigning, conservation and research. SAS have managed to impact a few areas of the economy. One area they have impacted is Travel and Tourism. By encouraging people to surf in the UK’s waters rather than going abroad, it means that there is more money coming and staying in the UK. This is through accommodation, transport, retail, food and beverage services, sports and recreational services. Research has shown that the average spend of tourists on surfing breaks per year, per person is £3624.77. It is also estimated that the average surfer spends £495.21 on their equipment and clothing. SAS have also successfully held many beach clean up sessions, that have brought people together to clean up marine litter from beaches all over the country. A recent clean up saw over 100 volunteers turn up to clean the beach. Approximately 8 million individual pieces of marine litter enter the sea every day,
  4. 4. The issues: SAS have successfully set up an educational program, Seas for Life. The program has been set up at the Falmouth Maritime Museum. This was launched on the 1st of July last year. At the launch, there were a series of talks and interactive sessions on the various marine pollution issues, wildlife and habitat impact, and the solutions to these issues. The launch also included a talk and food tasting from TV chef Martin Dorey. The event was attended by around 150 students from the local schools. which has caused the deaths of over a million sea birds, and 100,000 marine mammals annually. SAS recently called for a 50% reduction in the UK’s beach litter by 2020. One of SAS’ campaigns, Return to Offender, encourages people to return identifiable items of marine litter to manufacturers and distributers. Due to this campaign, companies such as Haribo have improved their anti-litter information on their product packaging. Return to Offender has also won SAS the Coast Award for best campaign in 2011. SAS have also managed to set up 35 notice boards across Cornwall, a popular surfing spot, that remind people of the importance of protecting the marine environment.
  5. 5. The issues: The program is there to teach young people about the latest in the SAS campaigns, and also addresses citizenship, and how they can ensure that they are having a positive impact on the marine environment. From reading their Marine Litter report, they state that they want to bring in a couple of pieces of legislation in order to crack down on marine litter. For example, banning smoking on beaches to reduce the amount of cigarette butts on the beach. SAS’ litter report states that 4.5 trillion cigarette buts enter the environment each year. SAS also want to enforce fines for littering to discourage people from doing it, and also want to induce public health warning on single-use packaging. They are also calling for people to change their behaviours, such as refusing single-use plastics, taking part in beach cleaning activities, and to take legal action against irresponsible landowners.
  6. 6. Facts and figures: On the SAS website they give you lots of facts and figures on the matters that they are campaigning against. This is in order to educate people on the issues, and to encourage support. Under their section on marine litter, they state the different sources of marine litter. The list shows that 40.4% of marine litter is from the public, 4.5% is from sewage related debris, 13.9% is fishing litter, 0.7% is from fly tipping, 3.9% is from shipping, 0.2% from medical waste and 36.3% cannot be sourced. They state that the most common form of marine litter found is plastics, that cannot truly break down. Plastic contains toxic chemicals. Plastics are sometimes ingested by marine life, and these toxins can can be transferred up the food chain. This means that a marine animal who ingest another marine animal who has ingested plastic, will also ingest these toxins. SAS also state that over 100,000 marine mammals, and over 1 million sea birds die from ingesting marine waste. In their marine litter report, they have discussed an event which occurred on the 10th of January 1992, where 28,800 plastic animals were lost overboard in the North Pacific. They stated that 20 years later, and they were still washing up on shores around the world. In their section about protecting waves they list all of the ways in which people are destroying surf spots. For example, solid structures and commercial activities can alter the way that the waves break, pollution might make the water too dirty and unsafe to surf in, litter could make your surfing experience unpleasant, and restricted access prevents people from going into the sea.
  7. 7. Facts and figures: SAS also give some facts on shipping. They have used the 1967 Torrey Canyon oil disaster as an example of how shipping is damaging the sea. They state that 120,000 tonnes of crude oil poured into the sea in Cornwall, which had disastrous effects on the environment. Another example that they have used is a more recent occurrence, where a ship sank and 77,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil leaked into the sea, making many beached completely off limits. They also mention the term ‘flags of convenience’. This can reduce the operating costs of the ship, and can enable the crew to avoid regulations of the owners country. SAS state that flags of convenience make it difficult to prosecute after an incident. On the SAS website, they state the many ways in which climate change could have an effect on our water quality, and on the ocean. For example they state that in the future there will be an increased risk of heavy rainfall, which could increase the risk of sewage tank overflows which could be a health hazard for water users. Flooding due to increased heavy rainfall could enable more pollution to spread to the sea which could also pose health risks to water users. They have also stated that 20% of the UK’s reef breaks are low tide reef breaks, and with sea levels rising this could reduce the quality of the waves, meaning surfing wouldn’t be doable.
  8. 8. Facts and figures: SAS state that their Safer Seas Service sent out 212,772 free real-time pollution warnings last year. This proves that SAS are protecting the public from using poor quality water, though also shows how frequently the our water is being contaminated. The Safer Safer Seas Service was set up to alert people of when and where the seas water quality is being reduced from untreated human waste or from diffuse pollution, in real-time. Looking at the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a similar organization to SAS, they have stated that the number of fisheries which met their standards increased from 2543 in 2013, to 2791 in 2014. This shows that MSC are possibly having a positive effect on the fishing industry. Also, the percentage of people who have bought MSC products at least once or twice before has increased by 11% since 2010.

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