Interview with Surfers Against Sewage, Liverpool rep Jayne Rigby #EcoGreenChampions

SAS is one of the biggest UK environmental charities striving to protect oceans, waves, beaches and wildlife. You have 215 volunteer reps at the moment, you Jayne being one of them. How did you become a surfer and later a part of SAS?

I’ve dabbled in surfing on and off since I was younger & have really got into it recently but I’ve been paddle boarding for 5 years & kayaking since I was around 8 so water sports have always been a huge part of my life. Since I can remember, I’ve always had an affiliation with the ocean. Having studied Ocean Sciences at University to go on and work in conservation, becoming a volunteer for SAS seemed like a natural step for me, so I applied & thankfully got the role ????.

How old is the Liverpudlian SAS and how many members do you have?

I’ve been the regional rep here in Liverpool for around 4 years now, joining in Autumn 2016 & we have two other reps nearby, one up in Formby/Southport & one over on the Wirral ????????

Why do you think that surfers are the ones that are not only concerned about the state of the oceans but also actively fighting for a change?

Surfers & other water users are in the ocean daily, seeing the true impact of pollution & how it’s affecting our waters. We are Generation Sea: a group/movement of people uniting to save the ocean, fighting against plastic pollution, climate change, sewage, habitat destruction and more

Summer is a great season for giving surfing shot. However, do I have to be a surfer to become a member of your organization?

Not just surfers, not just sewage. If you have a passion for saving our oceans and fighting for change then joining SAS as a member can help. We rely on the support of our members to give us the voice to challenge directives & environmental bills.

Your activism obviously has a political aspect too. SAS is currently almost halfway through with signatures for #EndSewagePollution petition. Why do you think that legal changes are crucial in solving environmental crisis?

Legal directives set strong, binding targets to reduce plastic pollution, increase protected areas and tackle climate change & allows us to build a powerful movement together, which shows politicians that the sea is not out of sight or mind when new laws are being set or new business deals being made. It’s sad to see that water companies are STILL polluting our oceans and waterways so our #EndSewagePollution campaign is calling on the UK Government to end sewage pollution and guarantee safe-seas all year round. To ensure the health and wellbeing of the public and help save the Ocean. You can download the Safer Seas app to your smart phone which gives you daily updates on the water quality in your area.

Our sponsors are small and medium sized businesses, which care about their environmental impact. SAS offers SMEs and MMEs to become a plastic free business champion. Can you tell me more about this initiative and its goal?

Our plastic free communities network has been created to tackle the use of Single Use Plastics in our local areas, from the beach all the way back to brands and companies that create it. Becoming a plastic free champion has never been easier! We’re helping small and medium businesses make the swap & allowing us to focus on things like plastic bottles, disposable coffee cups, food packaging, straws, balloons and bathroom plastics, these independents are driving the change we need to see on our high streets to stem the plastic tide at source. To become a plastic free champion, speak to your local rep ????????

What do you consider the biggest problem in terms of waste in the North West area?

Choosing between Plastic Pollution and Sewage discharge in the the North West is tough as they’re equally abhorrent. These are the major factors we’re facing here today. For example, the report today from the Safer Seas App shows a Storm Sewage discharge in the Liverpool Bay. As it’s sunny, people are going to be heading out, swimming & using the water, unaware that the water quality is poor and that they can develop health issues. By using the app, it allows us to keep on top of these occurrences & to contact our local MPs to take action and stand up for the Ocean. The use of single use plastics in the city is still ongoing and I’m constantly asking for change from the local councils & businesses. We currently have over 50 local businesses in the region who are plastic free champions so we’re heading in the right direction but we still have a long way to go. It’s not just small businesses either, people need to make the swap, stop buying SUPs & switch to a more sustainable option. People leaving their local green spaces and beaches in a shocking state also need to be educated on the environmental impact of plastic pollution. By doing regular beach cleans & park picks, it allows our community to come together.

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