Students launch fundraising drive to protect our oceans and coast

STUDENTS alarmed by climate change and pollution have launched an ambitious fundraising drive to help protect our oceans and improve our coastal environment.

Sixth formers at Ripon Grammar School will be holding a series of events to raise money for the marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage, whose number one priority is tackling plastic pollution.

Sebastian Lyons, a member of the school’s eco-committee, came up with the idea: “I believe we need a fundamental change in how we view the environment and SAS is at the forefront of protecting our oceans, highlighting the connection between what is happening at our local beaches and climate change,” he explained.

“Every day millions of pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our seas. The magnitude of this problem requires large-scale political solutions. This is what excites me about our chosen charity.”

The school’s thriving student-led eco committee, which has already introduced tree planting and pen and battery recycling schemes in addition to paper and plastic recycling, is currently working towards RGS becoming plastic-free.

As well as organising sponsored beach litter pickings, sixth form students are reaching out to local primary schools to share ideas on helping the environment in order to make a difference within their local community.

Head girl Emma Belward said she was particularly excited about the chosen charity: “This is the first environmental charity we have ever chosen to raise money for.

“Reducing waste and being plastic-free for the week is integral as we hope this will encourage RGS students to become more eco-friendly in all aspects of their lives.”

Among the fundraising events planned for Charity Week, which begins on October 21, are a film night, teachers’ pantomime, prize stalls and games. Last year, the school raised £15,397 for St Michael’s Hospice.

*SAS, one of the UK’s leading marine conservation charities, recently secured a £5 billion investment from UK water companies to improve the quality of bathing water and organises beach cleans and educational programmes, along with petitions to governments and industry.