IMPACT Group Puts Concerns Into Action

St Anthony's IMPACT Group in Sunderland have been working to "Save God’s Creation", one plastic bottle at a time!

Amongst the dog walkers and families on Roker Beach (Sunderland), St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy held its seasonal litter pick one cold and rainy February weekend, organised by the IMPACT Group.

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The litter pick was initiated over the Christmas season when the young people got to thinking about how they could raise money for their chosen Christmas charity and also to give something back to the community. A coastal litter pick was the conclusion, and quickly the girls got to work organising sponsorship money and checking the tides for a weekend in early February.

Before and during this event the young people were reminded of Pope Francis’ papal document Laudato Si and in particular this quote resonated with the pupils when they studied it as part of their GCSE course: “All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.” (Laudato Si 14). The litter pick was a chance for pupils to preserve God’s creation one small step at a time.

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Over the past year there has been a 10% increase in rubbish washed up on the UK’s beaches says the Marine Conservation Society and most of it, plastic. This has harmed local wildlife and has impacted significantly on the beautiful coastal landscape. 

The pupils and staff at St Anthony’s have conducted litter picks in the past and this was a great opportunity to follow up on their great work.  Miss Prestwood, Assistant Key Stage Director at St Anthony’s and organiser of the event praised the girls saying, ”The dedication of the girls has been fantastic and to come here on a very wet Saturday just shows how much the pupils want to help our local community and rid the beach of human waste.”

Over 20 bags of rubbish were collected during the two hour stint on the beach. The girls were shocked at how much rubbish had accumulated on the beach, so are quickly organising a further litter pick in the near future.

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In the 21st Century we are part of a, “throwaway culture, “ which has left a huge stain on our global home. However, through endeavouring to improve and care for the environment through events like this, we can slowly work towards a brighter and less plastic-filled future for God’s creation.