Jacob Milan Talks About Pollution Prevention Coalition

Julia Canuel and Isabella Rocha

What was your inspiration in starting the PPC?
I have been very connected with nature, especially with the ocean, my entire life. I have spent many years surfing and more recently I have gained a heightened interest in fishing. On top of these ocean-based activities, I love to spend time at the beach with my friends, either swimming or simply going on an adventure. My philosophy is that if I take from the ocean and use its resources to benefit me, I should have to do my part in giving back to the ocean. By starting the PPC to tackle plastic pollution head-on, I believe that this is my way to give back to the ocean.
Do you plan on spreading the PPC throughout the community? If so, how?
In fact, yes, I and the co-leaders of this club Alex Millar and Rory McCoomb have reached out to the Berkley and Somerset middle schools in order to get these students involved with the PPC. I have not yet heard back from the SMS principle, but Rory has informed me that the principle at the Berkeley middle school is on board with getting her students involved with the PPC!
What have you done so far to limit plastic pollution?
The goal of the PPC is more focussed on spreading awareness as opposed to fully eliminating plastic pollution because this is obviously an impossible task. We believe that taking a more informative, laid-back approach is the best way to get kids our age to consider the consequences that plastic pollution will hold on their home, Earth, for not only themselves but their future children and families. However, I have made the switch to using reusable water bottles (YETI more specifically), and I recycle as much as I can. I also try to eat locally grown foods to protest with the wastefulness of mass-production food companies, and I try to sustain my seafood intake in the summer months by eating local fish/shellfish that I catch myself. The PPC has also held 2 clean-ups so far, one at school and one at Pierce beach, where combined we probably picked up over 60 pounds of trash in the matter of a combined 3 hours. Simply being more conscious of where your money goes when buying products will help combat pollution!! Reduce, reuse, recycle, compost, and eat/fish local!!
What is your goal for the PPC?
Our goal for the PPC is for it to grow to a non-profit organization where we can raise money and donate this money, along with plastic we collect, to organizations that turn plastic into eco-friendly, reusable products. We also hope to just simply get more people living a clean, eco-friendly lifestyle.
Do you have a plan to reduce plastic consumption as well as the amount of plastic waste? If so, what are those plans?
We would like to get more people using reusable water bottles and products. Also, we would like to go to our town hall to get them to consider using less plastic, if not go plastic-free, and then from there, we can go to the statehouse to vouch for this plastic-free way of living. Rhode Island already went plastic-free, and Hawaii is in the process of it!!
How did the first clean-up go?
This answer is somewhere in the mix uptop. To be more specific, about 20 kids showed up to the first one with an additional 7 at the second one which was outside of school. I am happy with the turnout, but would like more people to show up, teachers included!! If anyone has any questions about the PPC, they can feel free to reach out to me, Rory, or Alex and we would be happy to give you more information, or simply to hear any ideas you may have for our club!
Will there be more in the future?
Of course!
Where do you plan on having cleanups?
Anywhere in Somerset, Berkely, or surrounding communities, including Westport, Newport, or Little Compton/Tiverton beaches!!
Do you plan on working with any other groups or organizations to spread your message and get more people involved?
We have actually already reached out to a non-profit organization based out of Newport, RI called Clean Ocean Access. Before starting the PPC, Rory, Mr. Chase and I went to a beach clean-up they held at Easton’s beach in Newport so that we could gain some insight on where to go with our idea. They loved our idea, and we stay connected through social media/email and we hope to plan some events with them in the near future! They are amazing people who care deeply about this issue.