Plastic pollution has risen up the agenda, and rightly so.
Did you know there’s an estimated 51 trillion microscopic pieces of plastic, weighing 269,000 tonnes in the oceans – that’s equivalent to around 538 million pairs of running shoes!
Two thirds of that pollution comes from the land; from poorly-managed landfill sites and industry spills, from litter dropped on beaches, and in towns, cities and our countryside.
Not only is this spoiling our immediate environment and surroundings, but more importantly plastic is killing our wildlife and marine animals, it is poisoning our groundwater, and ending up in the food-chain. It’s estimated that 1 in 3 fish caught (and perhaps ending up on your dinner plate tonight), contains plastic.
3 things we, as runners, can do:
Firstly don’t drop your own litter. I’ve seen in it races, particular road races, where empty water bottles and energy gel sachets are thrown to the ground. OK, so the event organisers will clear that up, and the volunteers involved do a great job. But they won’t track down everything, especially if it’s a windy day. I also believe it’s creating bad habits you may unwittingly revert to in situations where others aren’t around to pick up after you. You’ve carried the full energy gel with you for miles and hours, will it really cost you to carry the empty sachet a little further to the next bin?
Secondly, switch to reusable cups and bottles. I think we’re generally making progress here. A number of race events have already banned single-use cups at aid stations and make it mandatory to carry a reusable cup, such as the collapsible HydraPak Speedcup. But we can do more. Why not encourage your local race organisers to do the same, if they haven’t already.
Finally, pick up litter as you run. Carry a few nappy bags in your running pack; useful not only for storing your own rubbish, but for any smaller items of plastic you find on the trails. Regularly slowing down to pick up litter not only keeps you in the lower HR Zones, but will work wonders for your flexibility and agility too!
So, let’s do our bit to keep our streets, trails and oceans free of plastic.