Olympic Games Sailing gold medallist Hannah Mills has launched the Big Plastic Pledge – a global campaign – as part of the UN Clean Seas initiative.
The Big Plastic Pledge calls on athletes and fans to eradicate single-use plastic in sport.
As a world-class sailor, the British athlete has experienced first-hand the devastating impacts of plastic pollution on the world’s oceans, which is what triggered her to launch the Big Plastic Pledge. Hannah calls on other athletes to join such a platform to encourage sports clubs and event organisers to find alternatives to single-use plastic.
“Wherever we went during the 2016 Olympic cycle – every marina, every beach, every time we went sailing – we had seen something in the water,” a 31-year-old winner at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, a two-time world champion, says. “If we unite together, our voice can be so loud and powerful that we really can change people’s attitudes globally.”
As a part of a plastic initiative, the athlete asks to commit to using only reusable bottles, cups, lunchboxes and utensils, and also metal straws, to trying to eradicate single-use plastic bags, to thinking about what you can recycle and being part of a beach clean-up.
Each year, over 300 million tons of plastic are produced, half of which is used only once and then thrown away – bags, tubes, gloves. A tons of plastic end up in the seas every year, harming sea life and threatening the food security and health.
Plastic pollution also impacts sports from surfing and sailing to hiking, cycling, running and skiing, as it damages the natural environment on which they depend.
In June 2018, the IOC joined UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign against plastic pollution and called on the Olympic Movement to come on board. Eleven International Federations, four National Olympic Committees, Worldwide Olympic Partners Dow, P&G and Coca Cola, and the Japanese town of Ichinomiya – host of the Tokyo 2020 surfing competitions – have since joined the initiative.