In just 10 years, the Isle of Man has rid its beaches of plastic and earned Unesco status as a world leader in ocean protection. So how did it do it?
Standing on a windswept beach on the north-west coast of the Isle of Man, Bill Dale looked out on to plastic bottles, cartons and packaging forming a thick carpet covering the shingle. It was 2007, the global plastic binge was already well under way, but the millions of tonnes of waste seeping into the oceans as a consequence had not reached the public consciousness.
“I was with a friend and we thought, ‘Let’s just clean up this one beach.’ We had no idea then of the scale of the problem.”