‘Plastic poses the biggest threat’

STAFF at an architecture firm spent the day clearing a pickup truck’s worth of litter from a south Cumbria beach. O’Neil Architects was at South Walney Nature Reserve to show its support after the company became sponsors of Cumbria Wildlife Trust (CWT). Members of the O’Neil team also repainted one of the hides the public uses to watch animals.

“Sustainability, ecology and a commitment to our Cumbrian community are consistent threads that run through our work here at O’Neil Architects,” said Bob O’Neil, director of the firm, which is based in Kendal. “Our membership with CWT is therefore a natural partnership, with exciting possibilities to acknowledge this and help nature. “We had a wonderful day amongst bucolic surroundings with the team at South Walney Nature Reserve, and hope to return soon as we look to make this a regular event in our studio calendar.”

Michelle Waller, CWT senior development officer, said beach and marine litter remained ‘a real problem for wildlife’ and ranged from ‘fishing gear down to cotton buds’. “Every year, an estimated eight million tonnes of litter enters the world’s oceans,” she said. “Plastic poses the biggest threat to marine wildlife, as it doesn’t just disappear – it simply breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, and has detrimental effects on food chains, working its way up from the tiniest plankton into the bodies of sharks, whales and dolphins.

“We run beach cleans throughout the autumn and very much welcome business teams who want to come and help with this.”