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Connor’s campaign raises beach pollution awareness

Inspirational schoolboy Connor Merrick has seen his campaign to reduce litter on the beach recognised by Bognor Regis Town Council.


Eleven-year-old Connor was on holiday in Italy with his parents and realised there was no rubbish on the beach there and posters were displayed reminding people to be environmentally aware.


He felt the same message should be emphasised in his home town.


When they returned to their North Bersted home, Connor asked his mum, Alison, what they should do after he had drawn a campaign poster and she contacted the council’s community engagement and environment department.


His idea for publicity was eagerly taken up by officers and councillors – and now can be seen by the wider public when walking on the promenade.


The poster he designed shows the length of time it takes for common items of rubbish to decompose.


The Regis School pupil said: “I feel I was the only one doing anything. None of my friends knew about the pollution and how long it takes for something to decompose in the sea. I have spoken for them.


“I have tried to get the message through by having the sign to make people realise.”


Connor said he first became aware of environmental issues through a Cub Scouts’ meeting when lights and technology were turned off for Earth Hour, an annual international effort to remind people of environmental issues and use of natural resources.


He has also been active at his school in promoting the issue with fellow students in Year 7.


Connor was the recipient of this year’s Citizen’s Award for Young People, which was presented to him at the annual civic reception by the mayor, Stephen Reynolds.


The mayor and Connor met again on Tuesday when the copy of the poster produced by the town council was unveiled in the seafront shelter opposite the end of Clarence Road.


Cllr Reynolds said: “Having found the funds to produce posters in a range of sizes, the council decided to embrace the project.


“Young people are now very aware of potential environmental problems and passionate about the issues.


“If it stops anyone from throwing litter and thinking of the problem it creates, that’s great.


“As we have a diverse community and many foreign visitors, it’s good it has been produced with a number of languages – Polish, French, German and Russian, as well as English,” added the mayor.


The posters will be widely distributed as soon as officers have decided on suitable locations.

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