Friday, 22 October 2021

Henley Rotary Club

MEMBERS of Henley Rotary Club had a successful day spreading awareness of plastic pollution.

Members of the club set up a stand in Market Place on Saturday to talk about their campaign, called End Plastic Soup, which seeks to stop plastic waste ending up in oceans and rivers.

They also talked to people about joining the club, which meets regularly to organise fundraisers for local charities as well as hosting social events, such as dinners with speakers, theatre trips and outings.

The stand had a display of a series of alternatives to plastics, from wooden toothbrushes and ear buds to biodegradable ballpoint pens and bamboo plates.

More specifically, members of the club talked about a device that can be attached to washing machines to filter out the micro-beads of plastic contained in most clothing.

Some of the items displayed were borrowed from the Willow Basket, a whole- food shop supporting zero waste in Friday Street, and FourState, a zero waste shop in Duke Street.

Mark Harling, president of the club, said the day went well and about 100 people stopped to speak to members.

He said: “There was an incredibly positive response from people. If you have children or grandchildren you just want the best for their future and people were very receptive to that.

“If we don’t do something about plastic waste then the planet is just going to get worse and worse in terms of the environment.

“About 30 years ago, Rotary started a campaign to rid the world of polio and that’s practically finished now and there’s only a few pockets in the world where it still exists. Now this is an opportunity for Rotary to rid the world of plastic. This is what our stand in town was about.

“Part of the message is if we’re all doing something then all of these smaller parts will go towards the total sum going on around the world.

“We started this project in 2018 and the idea is that by 2050 there is no more plastic in the ocean, river, lakes and streets — that’s the goal.”

Mr Harling said about five people showed interest in joining the club as well as learning about the campaign.

“Even if we get three of the five that would be tremendous,” he said. “That was a really nice by-product of the stand.”

Jeremy Gaunt, who runs the club’s environmental committee, said: “The most gratifying thing was the number of young children who came to the stand and were already aware of the threat to wildlife and the environment from plastic waste.

“It’s their future and they already know that it is in danger.”

The club will have another stand during Great Big Green Week, which runs from September 18 to 26.

For more information, visit

Gee Harland

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