Organisers of one of the Island’s biggest sporting events, the Manx Telecom Parish Walk, are again stepping up efforts to reduce plastics waste.
The 85-mile, round-the-Island, walk on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd June has attracted 1620 entrants.
Race director Raymond Cox explained that while it’s vital participants stay hydrated, organisers try to ensure plastic waste doesn’t get left on the route – and have new ideas this year.
‘We have had a few initiatives over the years to address the environmental issues that the event throws up,’ Mr Cox said.
‘These primarily involve dealing with the rubbish from the feed stations and ensuring that the countryside does not get polluted with our debris.
‘We have an extensive clean-up plan in place, with lots of rubbish bins out on the day. To help with this, some local authorities also put out wheelie bins in their parish, which is great.
‘Last year we introduced compostable cups and we will be using these at Peel, where Manx Harriers supply teas and drinks to competitors and officials.
‘We also encourage our feed station partners to use these cups and MannVend has been particularly helpful in supplying both kit and information to the other partners.
‘We also encourage feed stations to have large water dispensers so walkers can refill their own bottles and cut down on plastic use.
‘We try to recycle plastics that are used, but we can struggle, with walkers putting other rubbish in the plastics bins, contaminating the whole bag, so we’d appeal to them not to.’
Beach Buddies Isle of Man will again help the clean-up and will help host a feed station at Eairy Cushlin, with entertainment and music.
An initiative this year is #3Pieces of Plastic, a campaign started by local man Rich MacNee, who picks up three pieces of plastic every morning and posts his finds online.
Mr Cox hopes support crew and even race participants will join in, pick up three items and do their bit to keep the course clear of plastics.
‘We are giving this exposure in our race programme to give the idea a push,’ he said. ‘We’ll also have a display banner and hand out leaflets at race registration on June 20th and 21st at the NSC.’