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Message in a bottle campaign to clean up River Severn

Created on 18/06/2018 @ 12:46
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Towns along the River Severn, including Newtown, are to be challenged to help clean up the river of plastic through a campaign launched by a Llanidloes man.

Philip Stallard has launched the ‘Message in a Bottle’ campaign to clean up the town and the upper reaches of the River Severn and roll the project downstream, from source to sea.

The campaign is gathering momentum, having won the support of town and county councils, businesses, schools, organisations and residents of Llanidloes, the first town on the Severn.

On Saturday, 30 June, he plans a series of events to launch the campaign which he hopes will spread to every town and village downstream on the River Severn.

The campaign aims to reduce the use of plastics in Llanidloes, to get the whole community on board to make the town litter free and to educate children and adults not to drop litter which ends up in the river and, ultimately, the sea.

"Blue Planet II provided the spark that lit the fire to do my bit to clean up the planet. I started by picking litter on mountains in Snowdonia and have continued by organising beach cleans every month, supported by a small army of like-minded people from inland, who also treasure the coastline," he said.

He has now turned his attention to his adopted hometown of Llanidloes and is planning a major litter pick from the source of the River Severn to the town on the morning on 30 June.

To launch the campaign, he has enlisted the support of Llanidloes and Trefeglwys primary schools with the aim of assembling more than 300 children and their families at Llanidloes Football Club where they will sing their own version of the famous Police chart topper ‘Message in a Bottle.'

Children and adults will then be transported in an open topped, double-decker bus by Celtic Travel to different parts of Llanidloes to pick litter, with the intention of tidying up the whole town by the end of the day.

Cllr Janet Crisp, Mayor of Llanidloes, is inviting the mayors of dozen towns downstream of Llanidloes on the Severn to attend the launch together with the mayors of Rhayader and Builth Wells, which are located on the River Wye.

The day’s activities will be captured on video, which will be shared with the towns and Philip hopes they will be inspired to follow suit.

Llanidloes Primary School children are being asked to each write their own message in a bottle about plastic pollution. The bottles will be used to make a giant jellyfish created by the children which will be on display in Llanidloes Community Centre.

The Marine Conservation Society will hold workshops at the school, where the curriculum has been adapted to include the topic.

With the support of Llanidloes Rugby Club, local musicians, DJs and Llanidloes Canoe Club, Philip also hopes to organise an event with live music for teenagers who will be encouraged to help clear rubbish from a mile stretch of the River Severn.

“We are planning a massive community project to tidy up our town in one day,” said Philip, volunteer coordinator for Powys County Council’s Countryside Services team. “The campaign aims to stop people dropping litter and to reduce plastic use in Llanidloes and downstream.

“The support I have had from businesses in the town has been phenomenal. There are some fabulous examples of recycling going on in local businesses and I hope to create a hub for knowledge sharing.

“The Co-op has donated 3,000 natural cotton shopping bags which will be printed with our own campaign design. Another part of the campaign is to educate children to encourage their parents not to buy things in plastic bags. You would be surprised how much buying power children possess.

“We are all so lucky to live in Mid Wales which is such an amazingly beautiful place, yet there is a section of our community that trashes it with litter. I am trying to spread the message to the whole community so that everybody feels part of the solution to the litter problem because we don’t want our rubbish ending up in the sea.

“There is so much we can achieve by all working together and hopefully we can persuade people who litter to change their ways. Let’s see if we can start something big in little Llanidloes.”

Photo: Philip Stallard with one of his ‘Message in Bottle’ posters

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