One woman’s crusade to reduce plastics entering the sea. It’s not too often you get a crusader against marine plastic pollution, with a distinguished seagoing career as a senior three stripe officer, who gets the Merchant Navy Medal for services to the environment!
By: Fazilette Khan
Fazilette Khan is a rather extraordinary woman. She went to sea at time when there were very few women in this profession. From her very first day on ships, Fazilette was enthralled by the sights, sounds and smells of the ocean. From watching water spouts on the horizon sucking up the ocean like a hoover. Watching the dazzling light shows created by bioluminescence as the ship ploughed through the waves. Enduring the sensation of floating like a helpless cork during dark storms and hurricanes.
Problem of single use plastics
The one thing Fazilette did not envisage when she started her career however, was this beautiful ocean seascape being marred by the ever increasing onslaught of unsightly plastics. ”It was sad to see the problem of single-use plastics grown disproportionately, literally, right before my eyes. After taking a holiday on the island of Tobago and seeing people throw plastic beverage bottles, food wrappers and other non-biodegradable rubbish into the sea after their picnics. I felt I had to do something about it, even if it meant I was going to be a one-girl band!
”I did not to be one of those people who just bemoans a situation and wrings their hands in despair, but rather one who could come up with practical solutions to change human behaviour as a long term solution.”
GreenSeas Trust was set up in 2003, long before marine plastics was on anyone’s radar. The charity has worked on projects both home and abroad. Its latest one uses an innovated approach to stop beach littering. ”We wanted to find a way to change the, ’I can’t be bothered,’ attitude”. We have to change it towards the thoughtless action of leaving rubbish on beaches and promenades, using a visual cue. It needed to attract people to it in the first instance. But also we need to find a way to educate them as to the wider repercussions of plastic pollution on marine life and, our own health.
Thus, the concept of the BinForGreenSeas idea was born. Today, the 1.5 metre high, nautically themed bespoke bin with the tagline; ”Throw Marine Life a Lifeline,” is located in 6 prominent seaside locations with more in the pipeline. The fibreglass material from which it is made, has PET recycled plastic as one of its key components. Approximately 450 plastic bottles worth. It means, not only is the bin changing human behaviour with its bold as brass shape and size. The bin emotive message about saving marine life. It also diverting a whole lot of plastic from being incinerated or put in landfill.
Read More: www.greenseas.org