Top British kite foiler takes a stand against single-use plastic bottles
Millions of single-use, virtually indestructible plastic water bottles are still pouring into the world's oceans every year posing a threat to marine and human life. And the bottles gradually beak down into microplastics, which exist in colossal amounts and are found in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink, leaching toxic chemicals linked to various illnesses, including cancer and hormone issues. We asked Bluewater clean oceans ambassador and winner of four World Cup medals Ellie Aldridge, a leading female formula kite athlete who spends most days out on the water practising her skills, to provide her insights below on the threats posed by throwaway plastic bottles... .
"Kitefoiling is a very unique sport. Completely powered by the wind, I often travel significantly faster than the wind because my equipment is so efficient through the air and water.
With only a small hydrofoil zooming through the water, I have developed an extremely sensitive feel for how the water feels as I cut through it at over 60km/hr. I also know the feeling too well, when I crash suddenly at high speed because I have hit a plastic wrapper or bag in the water.
I am fortunate enough to travel around the world a lot for kitefoil racing and I am fortunately to visit many different countries and kitesurf in many different oceans . Over these years of competing professionally,it has become very clear to me that there are more and more places I go to where the water is dirty. Full of plastic rubbish, that makes kitefoiling very difficult for a start!
But it’s not just me that it affects. Plastics break down and release chemicals that will destroy life in these oceans and spoil the beautiful ecosystems that thrive deep down. Not to mention it looks horrible and unnatural. This is no new news though. I am sure everyone knows about state of our oceans, but perhaps not everyone has actually witnessed it. I see the mess almost everyday I am out training on the water and it motivates me everyday, to reduce the amount of plastic I buy and use. Especially single use plastic. We don’t NEED single use plastic in our lives, but yet it is still surrounding us everywhere we go.
One simple thing that I think everyone can and should do to reduce their single use plastic usage, is to use a refillable, sustainable water bottle that can go everywhere with you. There is no need to buy bottled water from the shop, when you can take your own and fill it up wherever you go. We are very lucky In the UK that tap water is safe to drink and actually, most places that I travel to, it is possible to find a safe source to fill up my reusable water bottle.
We need to change the way we see plastic in our world. If we can all reduce our need for sngle use plastic, hopefully in the coming years, we will be celebrating the likes of World Water Day for its beauty and greatness without the 'buts' once again."