In order to save the environment, everybody has to play their part in pitching in. The perfect example of someone who knows this well enough is 70-year-old grandmother, Pat Smith. She has spent her 2018 picking up litter and caring for 52 beaches all over the south coast in Cornwall, United Kingdom.
BBC Three’s TV show called Amazing Humans which features the world’s most inspiring and amazing individuals has nicknamed Smith “Action Nan.” As her New Year’s Resolution in 2018, she set out on a mission to improve her community by making it a cleaner and better place to live in.
She got her inspiration after seeing a documentary about plastic pollution, and realized that she couldn’t sit back and do nothing. Smith’s media liaison Victoria Carpenter told Bored Panda that “Pat always says that people say, ‘Why doesn’t someone do something about that? And then they realize they are someone, that’s what happened to her. She wanted to be someone who did something about it but also to get other people to come to the same realization.” Ever since she completed the 52-beach cleanup, Smith has since helped out with other environmental projects and she’s not stopping anytime soon.
Throughout 2018, the Action Nan cleaned all the beaches from Coverack which is located on the Lizard Peninsula all the way to Blackpool Sands in Devon. Other volunteers such as her grandchildren, Keep Britain Tidy and members from Beach Guardian and Surfers Against Sewage would join her in cleaning up all these shores.
Some people often mistake Action Nan as doing some kind of community service, and to this, she said: “People don’t understand I’ve been doing this voluntarily. We should all take responsibility for picking up the litter as well as ensuring we don’t drop litter in the first place.”
Smith started her very first environmental campaign in 2017 way before her beach clean ups. She wanted to eliminate the use of plastic straws in her city of Cornwall. She founded ‘The Final Straw Cornwall’ to raise awareness of the damage that single-use plastics do to the ocean. From this, she was able to encourage 600 companies to stop using plastic. Her future goal is to make her city the prime example of a plastic-free area in the United Kingdom.
What is next for Action Nan? “Pat’s now doing some work as Trash Warrior, heading inland to tackle the litter that is washing down from inland places into the sea. She’s recently been named as a Litter Ambassador for Keep Britain Tidy. She’s also still doing more beach cleans. Now that the UK government has announced it will ban plastic straws, she also wants to highlight other single-use plastic items such as coffee cups and the plastic used to wrap fruit and veg in supermarkets to encourage others to reduce the amount of single-use plastic we consume. She’s taken part in big Plastic Unwrap events at local supermarkets, for example,” said her media liason.
Although her resolution year has come and gone, this environmentally conscious grandma still continues on her quest to clean the sandy shores of the U.K. “A lot of the rubbish I have picked up consists of everyday items,” said Pat. “These things are used by all of us and it is shocking to find them polluting our beautiful beaches. Please let’s try to be more thoughtful in this coming year. I’m driven to try and protect our living planet for my children and grandchildren and I will continue to do everything in my power to achieve that.”
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