A pioneering environmentalist is striving to raise awareness about the staggering amount of pollution there is in the sea resulting from plastic waste.

And Lizzie Carr plans to do it in a rather inspiring way, by bidding to become the first female to cross the English Channel on a stand up paddle board (SUP)

“It’s so important to get the message out there about plastic pollution, and although this will be tough, knowing I have so much support and goodwill will really help push me,” she said.

The extent of the problem was highlighted in The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which revealed that “by 2050 oceans could contain more plastics than fish (by weight)”. The report also provides a blueprint for change – to recycle and reuse 70% of all global plastic packaging by 2050, up from today’s paltry 14%.

Innovators like Lizzie are key to delivering the change.

Get involved

The young game-changer’s Plastic Patrol initiative is encouraging people to get together to help remove as much plastic as possible from ‘inland waterways and coastlines by the end of 2017’.

From the summer, Lizzie will be asking people in the UK to get involved in her #PlasticPatrol campaign and have a free SUP experience at one of 14 locations. She will also be launching the free #PlasticPatrol App (available on android and IOS) to enable people to record where the problem areas are so clean-up operations can get underway. The global app will mean anyone, wherever they are, can join the movement. All results will be presented on a first of its kind interactive map on the website.

Lizzie will take on her latest challenge, the English Channel, sometime next week – if the conditions are suitable.

“I am nervous about the challenge. I’ve been training hard but crossing will be unpredictable and although you can plan as best as possible some things will be out of our hands. Conditions at the moment are too dangerous to cross but this gives me more time to train and prepare, which is always welcome.”