Pupils at private school could face warning for plastic bottle use

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Pupils caught taking plastic water bottles into school could be punished in the same way as if they were caught smoking cigarettes behind the bike sheds.

Under strict new rules any pupil found taking a plastic water bottle in to Brighton College could face a formal warning or worse.

The move is part of radical new measures brought in by headmaster Richard Cairns as part of an environmental drive at the £12,000-a-year Brighton College, East Sussex.

It is the first school in Britain to brand single-use plastics like water bottles, plastic straws or non-biodegradable cups as ‘anti-social’ and ban them from the premises.

The move is part of radical new measures brought in by headmaster Richard Cairns (second from left) as part of a environmental drive at the £12,000-a-year Brighton College, East Sussex

The move is part of radical new measures brought in by headmaster Richard Cairns (second from left) as part of a environmental drive at the £12,000-a-year Brighton College, East Sussex

The move is part of radical new measures brought in by headmaster Richard Cairns (second from left) as part of a environmental drive at the £12,000-a-year Brighton College, East Sussex

Mr Cairns will make the announcement at an education conference at the school tomorrow.

And Mr Cairns warned all teachers and staff at the school to follow the new school rule as well.

To ensure pupils have enough water, the school is currently installing more water fountains and water stations.

It is also commissioning refillable bottles, each etched with key environmental messages, for all pupils.

Mr Cairns said: ‘We will treat plastic bottles, straws and non-biodegradable cups as anti-social, in the same way that for decades we have banned cigarettes.

‘Initially, we will enforce the changes with a system of formal warnings for pupils breaking the rules but there is also the appetite, if it proves necessary, to use sanctions – in large part, because the potential for sanctions highlights the significance of the issue’.

Mr Cairns (pictured middle) warned all teachers and staff at the school to follow the new school rule as well.

Mr Cairns (pictured middle) warned all teachers and staff at the school to follow the new school rule as well.

Mr Cairns (pictured middle) warned all teachers and staff at the school to follow the new school rule as well.

The new environmental measures may eventually include banning parents and teachers who drive polluting diesel cars from from driving onto school premises.

The move comes after sixth formers at the coastal school started campaigning for the use of less plastic after watching the BBC’s Blue Planet series.

Mr Cairns will say: ‘Many pupils were really shaken by the terrible images on David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 of marine animals being strangled by plastic.

‘In 2016, more than 480 billion plastic drinking bottles were sold across the world, with millions ending up in our oceans. A recent survey by Plymouth University found that plastic was found in a third of all UK-caught fish, and the effect on humans of eating fish containing this plastic is still largely unknown.’

Mr Cairns will also use his speech to condemn those manufacturers putting plastic straws in drinks aimed at children.

The Marine Conservation Society has reported that plastic straws are blighting our beaches and seas. The plastics used take hundreds of years to decompose.

Under strict new rules any pupil found taking a plastic water bottle in to Brighton College (pictured) could face a formal warning or worse

Under strict new rules any pupil found taking a plastic water bottle in to Brighton College (pictured) could face a formal warning or worse

Under strict new rules any pupil found taking a plastic water bottle in to Brighton College (pictured) could face a formal warning or worse

The headmaster also plans to address the use of diesel at his school.

He will tell gathered heads at the conference: ‘The World Health Organisation has classified diesel as a class one carcinogen and the cause of thousands of premature deaths in Britain yet nearly all school minibuses are powered by diesel’.

He will call on motor manufacturers pioneering electric vehicles to focus on producing electric vehicles for schools and has written to all major manufacturers seeking their support.

He said: ‘I have asked the school’s science department to establish a research group of sixth formers, all able scientists, to research the evidence and advise me of possible ways forward.

‘Educationally, this makes great sense for those individuals. It also flags up to the whole community that we are serious about this matter. In the meantime, we are incentivising the drivers of electric or hybrid cars by installing electric chargers in our school car park.’