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Phil Mood: “I’m taking part in a voluntary beach cleaning project”

I am the Divisional Manager of the Mechanical and Electrical team at Rullion. I have been here for almost 8 years, based in the Newcastle office. I have plenty of experience in recruitment, as I have been working in this industry for 25 years. I am unlocking my potential by taking part in a voluntary beach cleaning project, after being encouraged to join by my daughter. We are part of the Sea Shepherd Marine Debris Campaign, and are involved with formally organised events, but also spend at least a couple of hours every weekend doing our own mini-clean.

My daughter had been talking for some time about environmental issues. She persuaded me to take part in a beach clean, which was organised by Sea Shepherd. I went along because she wanted to do it, rather than having any interest. However, the experience really opened my eyes.

The Sea Shepherd organisers are a group of activists who run environmental and conservation campaigns worldwide. This includes anti-whaling campaigns, turtle, and dolphin conservation projects, seal protection projects and the Marine Debris Campaign.

I had no idea how much plastic ends up in the oceans. Much of it can be prevented with a little thought. Some of our best beaches are absolutely littered with plastic and fishing gear. Every time the tide comes in, more of it washes up. Documentaries like A Plastic Ocean, The Cove and Blackfish have made me re-evaluate a significant element of my lifestyle.

The oceans are dying because of man-made pollution. In many cases, plastics in the sea never breaks down. Those that do, form "micro-plastics" which absorb chemical pollution, resulting in them becoming even more toxic. These micro-plastics get into the food chain from marine life ingesting them, ultimately winding up on our dinner plates.

The media regularly covers stories about dead whales with stomachs full of plastic carrier bags, turtles mistake them for "delicious" jellyfish. Wildlife also gets trapped in discarded fishing gear or plastic containers, resulting in deformed growth or death.

My contribution to the Marine Debris Campaign is only a tiny part of what is going on worldwide, but hopefully, raising awareness of the issues caused by our careless disposal of plastics will preserve many species for future generations, and raise awareness of the dangers we are causing by poisoning the food we consume.

I'll be on a beach this weekend with my charming offspring, equipped with a couple of bin-liners, some gardening gloves and a litter grabber (my dodgy old spine isn't as flexible as it was) collecting plastic cups, fishing gear, plastic bottles, cigarette butts, netting, burst footballs, crisp packets, balloons and carrier bags for safe disposal. Next time you go to the beach, have a look amongst the seaweed and rock pools, you'll be surprised how much dangerous refuse we generate.

The exciting growth of Rullion has seen many innovative ideas being introduced, many of which, benefit us as employees. Rullion presents an opportunity for us all to get involved in developing the business and ourselves. Communication within the group has improved dramatically and the business has a "progressive" feel about it now. For me, Rullion is an environment where individuals are encouraged to be involved and opinions are valued.

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