Training Youth to Fight Plastic Pollution

10 June 2019 By Laura Dunn

It’s hard to go long while perusing news headlines without coming across an eco-themed article. And this is for good reason, as plastic pollution is hurting our oceans more than ever. In May, U.S. News reported that roughly 100 million tons of plastic can be found in the ocean. That’s why UKSA, a charity and maritime training center in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, partnered up with Final Straw Solent in order to increase ocean health awareness.

UKSA, which believes in harnessing the power of the sea to make a positive difference, has an experienced and highly qualified team of people that offer maritime training courses and youth development programs that help change youth for the better. Final Straw is a non-profit environmental organization that works with communities and businesses to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the oceans. It actively encourages positive behaviors to help the environment.

Part of its initiative is training young people about sustainability and ocean health so they can take important steps to minimize pollution. “It is so important to educate the next generation of maritime professionals and we hope they become motivated and conscientious guardians of the sea, both when working and during leisure time,” says Ben Willows, CEO of UKSA. “They can then pass on the message to future generations, creating an amazing legacy for all of us who love the sea.” He enjoys seeing young people speak passionately about their commitment to sustainability, “and it’s also great seeing the passion grow in our team of instructors as their knowledge continues to grow.”

This is just one of many things UKSA is doing to help; other activities have included installing a Seabin on a floating dock in the UKSA marina last December and they’ve also replaced plastic cups and sandwich containers with compostable and reusable packaging. “We would love to see as many people as possible benefit from our world-class training with its strong emphasis on ocean health and sustainability, ensuring future generations can continue to enjoy our oceans,” Willows says. “We have found that these initiatives create new conversations between students and instructors, and we are all learning to think more holistically about the sea and how we use it for work and leisure.”

Willows says they’re also working with Blue Green, a joint environment initiative created by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and British Marine. By doing so, they can better provide instructors who can demonstrate to students the importance of protecting the marine environment.

UKSA has been delivering training for 30 years, and they project that 6,000 young people will be part of the initiative at the Isle of Wright-based center.

If you’d like to make a donation, call their fundraising team or visit their website at

Photo: Courtesy of UKSA