COMMUNITY College students and some local residents from the Bishops Castle Fight the Plastic Campaign have travelled by electric car to spend a day studying and cleaning up a 100m stretch of beach at Aberystwyth.

The students brought back about 10kgs of plastic litter which they have sorted, weighed and sent the data to the Marine Conservation Society to add to their database on plastic beach litter.

“I've been wanting the students to understand is the link between our actions 60 miles inland and our beaches and seas; all plastic litter, if left, breaks down into micro- and nano-plastics and washes to the sea, where it can remain for 450 years or more.

"Only by directly experiencing it on the beach can they see that link and become more responsible for their actions and influence their peer,” said organiser Dave Luckhurst who accompanied the 14 students.

Also with them were college staff Adam McMahon and Natalia Fialho, with adult helpers Julie Luckhurst, Dave Thomlinson, Charlie Monk and Julian Symondson.

Surfers Against Sewage representative Alan Cookson organised the morning clean up at Tanybwlch Beach, and the afternoon was spent on a Nurdle Hunt scouring South Beach Aberystwyth looking for nurdles (industrial raw material, tiny plastic pellets transported around the UK in vast numbers and some of which escape into the rivers and seas).

Lunch was spent at a local fish and chip shop chosen because they use biodegradable wrappings and wooden forks, not plastic.

Data provided to the Marine Conservation Society is used to lobby parliament about the issues of plastic in the oceans and the legislation needed to combat it.

Students have already met with Ludlow MP Philip Dunne to raise the issues with Mr Luckhurst giving a resume of the problem of Single Use Plastics (SUPs) and possible solutions we can all take as individuals, and Mr Dunne giving an overview of what government is currently doing and planning to do to reduce the problem of plastic food packaging through legislation and pressure on packaging manufacturers.

Mr Dunne also spoke about his new role on the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee and questioned the students about their views.

Students had done preparation work with the two members of staff and then questioned Mr. Dunne on SUPs and what more could be done, including discussions around litter breaking down into micro and nano plastics and washing to the sea; the Spring Beach Clean, dependence on healthy seas for many things, including food and oxygen; and the huge benefit of the Blue Planet II series on BBC in raising awareness of the damage plastics do to the marine environment.

They also raised the value of the plastic bag charge in reducing plastic use and plastic bag litter on beaches (40percent down last year); and a proposed Deposit Return Scheme for plastic bottles in England, which Mr Dunne supports, and how that could reduce SUPs and transform the bottled drinks market.

More than 100 MPs have now signed up to support the Plastic Free Parliament – - project, which Mr Dunne promised to investigate. Over two million plastic items are currently thrown away after a single use in Westminster, every year

The meeting was video recorded by the college IT department for use in assemblies, in their Messenger Newsletter and on their website.

Students are preparing to do another beach clean at Borth on April 15 and plans are underway to attend to attend the Cooperative Academies Eco Conference in Manchester on June 25, where they will present their findings and experiences to other schools.

It follows their close working relationship with the town’s Co-op store on its recent revamp.

For further information, contact David Luckhurst on 01588 680250 or 0781185112

DAVE Luckhurst has also himself raised more than £1,200 for the Plastics fight after a reforesting scheme involving the planting of nearly 2,000 trees near Llanbister in February.

In total he planted 1,925 trees were planted, including 1,250 oaks, as part of 13,000 being planted over the Great Wood site which has been a larch plantation for 54 years after an Ancient Woodland was clear-felled in the early 1960s.

It will probably be about three years before the new trees really begin the show but bluebells have shown through in large numbers and many other species of herbs and trees have survived through the conifer years.

It's open to visit as a bridleway runs through the centre and hare, voles, buzzard, and red kite are all seen.

The £1,200 raised includes Gift Aid) through his donated pay of nearly £600 and online donations.

PIC 1: Bishops Castle Community College students at their Beach Clean-up day at Aberystwyth. (FL)

PIC 2: Bishops Castle Community College students meet local MP Philip Dunne. (FL)