Sunday, 3 February 2013

Too many plastic bags...

On short journey to the cinema recently, my children counted, no less than 37 plastic bags caught up in trees.  Each bag counted raised their voices to an higher octave.  I think they were disgusted at the amount of plastic debris and well aware of the risks to wildlife.  I will tell you more about that in a moment.
Supermarket carpark plastic bag tree!
So, I did a quick metric and calculated that we had travelled 6 miles, so that's approx 6 bags/mile.  If you take the distance between John O Groats to Lands End it is approx 603 miles and times that by 6 bags/mile you get a whopping total of 3612 bags and that's if you go in a stright line.  Imagine if you travelled all the 2705 miles of road in the UK you might count up to a total of 16236.  That is alot of plastic floating around our small island.  Of course you might say that the roads in the countryside will have less bags so my calculation may be grossly overestimated but then again city centres may have more than my estimated 6bags/mile so I could have grossly underestimated my sample size. Regardless of my statistical inexperience the fact remains that there are plastic bags floating about in trees, I've seen it with my own eyes (see the above picture).  Not only do these bags get stuck in trees and verges, they also get into our water system.  It's a sad fact that over 1 million plastic bags  are consumed every minute globally and marine wildlife mistake them for food which kills them if consumed.

Image from the Marine Conservation Website
So what can we do help?  Last year, through a series of happy encounters I was introduced to Morsbags.  Morsbags is a global not-for-profit organisation. They are re-usable cloth bags made by volunteers using donated recycled fabrics, such as curtains and remnants, and given away free to the public at various local events. The idea is to encourage the use of re-usable bags instead of plastic carrier bags. Leicestershire, where I live, is a morsbag making hotspot, having made and given away over 25 000.  Last year I started my own local group and so far, our small group, has made 60 bags, most of which have been given away.

The day we caught a plastic bag in St Ives!
We meet approx once a month in the Greenacres Community room, The Sidings, Adjacent to the Leicester North Great Central Heritage Steam Railway Station in Leicester. We call ourselves the Morsbags Charnwood Pod. If you live nearby, why not come along to one of our sessions and have a go at making a bag. It is not just sewing, we need helpers to cut out, seam press, sew, and help give away the morsbags. We also have a fabric drop off box at the Greenacres Centre if you have any unwanted fabric remnants or curtains.  You can find details about the Charnwood Pod on our Facebook page.  If you don't live nearby then you can make your own bag or, better still, get some friends together and set up your own Morsbags Pod.

They're very easy to make!
I have measured the (rough) distance, from North to South, of Leicestershire and have calculated the number of miles by the number of plastic bags per mile and have come up with the number 240.  A challenge for the Charnwood Pod, for 2013, is to make that equivalent number of Morsbags - Can we do it - yes we can!


3 comments:

  1. this is awesome work! I wish I lived close by to help, perhaps I should take this up in Melbourne...thank you for your insight and awareness.

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    1. Hi Magic. You could set up your own Morsbag Pod from Melborne. Check out the forums on the Morsbag.com website where there are plenty of baggers with loads of experience who will be able to help you out ~ Lisa

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  2. Hi Magic, Lisa is right. We have morsbag pods all over the world. We are also on Facebook . We have a morsbag room in Oadby where you can learn to make a bag and we can kit you up with labels, fabric and thread. The website is www.morsbags.com Our events are all on Facebook morsbags.com Leicestershire ~Rosie

    @Lisa - love what you are doing!

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