Breakwater Documentary Raises Funds To Stop The Tide Of Marine Litter

By Sofy Robertson

Exeter-based environmental researcher and film-maker Emma Askew has created a crowdfunding campaign for her film Breakwater, which explores the environmental issue of marine litter.

As a South West representative for national charity, Surfers Against Sewage, Emma was “strongly inspired by the way the charity operates”, particularly the way in which it “places responsibility within society to lead action” against marine litter. Emma continues:

“I decided that I wanted to produce a film that celebrates the hard work of society, including the SAS’s team and volunteers, in which the SAS Big Spring Beach Clean this year was the largest and most successful event they had ever hosted with over 45,000 volunteers and over 71 tonnes of plastic pollution removed from the UK’s beaches.”

In the face of such an overwhelming problem with devasting effects for marine environments, it would have been easy for Breakwater to take a pessimistic approach. Emma was determined for this to not be the case, explaining:

“I have been extremely determined for this documentary to capture the optimistic and successful side of ocean conservation. I aim for it to be extremely uplifting and to fill people with a powerful sense of responsibility.”

The term Breakwater itself is one of her own invention, aiming to describe “a new modern movement where local, societal mitigation can act as a barrier between marine litter and the ocean.”

Although it was her work with Surfers Against Sewage that provided Emma’s initial inspiration, it was Sir David Attenborough himself who truly kindled that inspiration. Writing to Sir Attenborough two years ago, Emma received a rare career counsel from the world-famous nature documentarian. His reply stated that she should form her own production company. Emma explains:

“He made it sound so simple that it gave me the courage to be proactive and to self-drive the production. After I organised a small production team, I decided that I wanted the documentary to explore a topic that I have vastly researched and have a strong personal connection with; ocean conservation.”

Emma hopes that with crowdfunding support, the documentary will be able to use drone technology to capture the full scope of marine litter and issues it causes. Emma says:

“The more people this documentary is able to motivate, the larger the effect from local action. This will ultimately reduce all the environmental and socio-economic threats from marine litter at a national to global scale.”

Breakwater documentary shows marine litter

Breakwater: A Sneak Peak

The full documentary will explore the issue of marine litter through different human case studies, including experiences from a Professor of Zoology, two environmentally-conscientious school students and a driven Geography postgraduate, with the aim to make the issue relatable for different age groups of society.

The documentary addresses the changes that have already been made by societies and organisations to reduce marine litter and aims to motivate further action by addressing the long-term individual changes that society needs to make to prevent damage to human health, as well as the environment and economy in the most effective way.

Emma concludes by saying:

“I strongly believe that it is important to address the problem from a new perspective by humanising the marine litter issue. By doing this, I hope to enhance the appreciation of how it will impact us as humans, ensuring it will really hit home for the individuals watching.

“Any support towards this project will nationally raise awareness against marine litter and will help support ocean conservation in the long-term. Be the Breakwater against marine litter.”

To donate to the crowdfunding campaign, click here.

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