Young Newhaven eco warrior Jack Bowes was inspired by a school talk to pick up beach litter and encourage others to remove the rubbish that is blighting our coastline and endangering marine life.
The eight-year-old Southdown Junior School pupil went straight home to his mum asking if he could pick up litter at his local beach after hearing about the problem from the Marine Conservation Society.
Held at Grays Infants School for a number of local primary school pupils, the talk was part of conservation specialist Planet Whale’s campaign to raise awareness of marine conservation in the run up to WhaleFest 2012.
Jack has always been passionate about wildlife and at age five asked to sponsor a Western Lowland Gorilla in danger of extinction as his birthday present.
But it was a bucket full of marine litter that was part of the talk which motivated him to do something to help.
Along with his mum, Jack, of Hillcrest Road, filled up three large black bin sacks of litter from Newhaven beach, rubbish ranging from flip flops, socks and gloves to plastic bottles, cans and netting, in just an hour.
Shocked by the amount of litter on the beach, Jack plans to return and continue his work as soon as possible.
“The talk at my school made me realise how much damage our litter is causing to the marine life and I wanted to help however I could,” he said.
“I was shocked by how much litter was on the beach and I am trying to get my classmates to come and help me clean the rest of the beach.”
Hearing about Jack’s enthusiasm for conservation, the Planet Whale team gave his family free entry to WhaleFest in Brighton as a thank you for his hard work.
WhaleFest 2012, held at the end of October, was billed as the largest celebration of wild whales and dolphins in the world.
It included 35 life-size whales and dolphins, sharks, seals and turtles, plus the chance to try scuba diving in a dive pool, get splashed on a real-time virtual whale watching trip and ‘Ocean Storytelling’ by authors including Lauren St John, Nicola Davis and Gill Lewis.
WhaleFest 2012 marked the 30th anniversary of the decision to suspend whale hunting, announced outside the hotel in 1982.
Thirty years later, Planet Whale is inviting the public to support new campaign - Save The Whales: Reloaded.
The campaign aims to bring people together to help identify the next generation of Marine Protected Areas.
To find out more about the campaign and how to get involved go to www.whale-fest.com