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Students hear of threat to coasts

SAHIBAN KANWAL
Last updated 05:00 29/03/2014

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Sam Judd, a 30-year-old self proclaimed fanatic surfer and diver - is attempting to save New Zealand and Pacific beaches and coastlines, one at a time.

As part of the Earth Hour Future Living Festival, he gave a presentation to Year 12 and 13 Geraldine High School students about the effects of litter on the marine environment.

Winner of the Young New Zealander of the Year Award for his work on raising awareness around the threat our coastlines face, he is also the co-founder and chief executive of Sustainable Coastlines.

Sustainable Coastlines is a charity run by eight staff members and volunteers who work together to keep the coastline beautiful.

"I have never been an environmentalist, but I saw something was wrong and I decided to do something about it," said Mr Judd.

His passion stems from a worry that the future generations will not be able to enjoy the coastlines.

"I want my daughter to be able to enjoy the beaches and the river and for that, more people need to care about what happens to our coast," he said.

He is passionate about spreading the word on the responsible disposal of plastic.

"Plastic is not biodegradable- every bit of plastic we have ever used in our lifetime is still on Earth. Over the years we have collected over a million litres of rubbish from our coastlines. We need to stop littering and we need to educate people about the effect it has on not just our marine life, but on us," said Mr Judd.

The Geraldine High School students found his talk inspirational and informative.

"He raised a lot of awareness about the effect pollution had on not just marine life and birds but on us humans as the consumers. The extent of it is truly shocking," said Year 12 student Helena Sinlayson-Hood.

Mr Judd considers the issue a personal one and he encouraged the students to talk about it and spread the word and help out by volunteering.

"You have got to think creatively to clear our beaches. We have got to train people to to do this - like our behavioral change surveys [conducted after he gives presentations in schools] and extend open invitations to the public to join us in our fight to save our coastline," he said.

Love your coast, love you water is his message.

"If I can spread the word and make an impact, I will die happy."

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- The Timaru Herald

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