Ben Mangin dreams of an ocean free of plastic.
The 17-year-old says the ocean is his playground and he wants to preserve it.
Ben is a member of the Nelson Yacht Club and says sailors can often be perpetrators of plastic waste.
So when hundreds of sailors descend on Nelson in April for the national starling regatta, the potential for waste is large.
However, in a bid to reduce waste, Ben has convinced his club to host a ‘clean regatta’.
Clean Regattas is the world’s leading sustainability certification for all water events.
Initiatives such as going paperless, sourcing local food and reducing water bottle usage will all be implemented in the upcoming regatta.
“The kinds of things people are starting to do in their day to day lives so we remove as much waste as possible,” says Ben.
He says plastic can be a major issue at big regattas, with bottles, bow stickers and bags often ending up in the sea.
“Increasing awareness is important, as everyone wants to do the right thing.”
Ben says he has had a tremendously positive response from those coming, supporting the concept of a clean regatta.
He hopes for it to become the norm in future. “There is work to do.”
Ben says they also plan to hold beach clean ups during the four day event.
The Waimea College student has been sailing since he was nine and hopes future generations can continue to do so.
“I love being out on the water, you can just clear your head and enjoy the thrill of speed.”
Since the programme’s inception in 2006, over 2,300 events have shown their commitments to sustainability by hosting Clean Regattas.
The programme has reached over 660,000 sailors and attendees in over 40 countries.
The National Starling Championships will be held in Nelson from April 14-19.
For more info go to http://www. nelsonyachtclub.org.nz/event/2020nz-starling-national-championships/ To volunteer your services for the event, please contact Tim at info@ nelsonwatersports.co.nz