In our new column, in which we make nice things happen for nice people, Victoria Cairns moves from litter-picking the streets to cleaning up the waterways
It was a turtle that changed everything. Victoria Cairns, 45, a headteacher from Derbyshire, was diving in Bali in 2008 when she saw one of the island’s famous turtles. It loomed towards her in the crystal clear water, and she was delighted – until she saw the plastic bag in its mouth. “I just thought: ‘Oh God, we are parasites’,” Cairns remembers. “Humans are at the top of the food chain and we’re having a devastating impact on the environment.”
She set up anti-litter Instagram account, @plastic_reduction, to raise awareness of the damage caused by plastic pollution. She regularly litter-picks around her neighbourhood. “She’s done amazing work keeping the area clean, tidy and beautiful,” says friend and fellow litter-picker Laura Clifton, who co-runs @plastic_reduction.