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  In the Hotseat: Laura
Updated 02 November 2004, 13.45
Laura's on the message boards
Newsround's Laura did a live webchat on the global and environmental issues message board after the Newsround Extra on sea pollution. Here's how she handled your questions in the Hotseat.

Laura: Hello! Welcome! Hope you enjoyed the programme and have got lots to ask me - fire away!

Hello: I'm worried about the environment...
Laura: With things like the environment, it's really easy to say that it's someone else's problem and that the government needs to sort things out, which is partly true... but it's also important to realise that we can all do our bit. Simple things like not flushing cotton buds and other stuff that shouldn't be flushed down the toilet - that really does make a difference. Always getting rid of your rubbish properly, wherever you are, and trying to recycle as much as possible is something we can all do to help.

a_bookworm: How much litter is found on beaches roughly every year?
Laura: Thousands of tonnes of rubbish are found on our beaches each year - and each year the situation is getting worse. The rubbish that we see on our beaches is only part of the problem because there's lots more out at sea.

Footy: Laura, do you live near any sewage?
Laura: I don't live near a beach at the moment but I used to live near the beach in West Wales - fortunately though, there wasn't any sewage there. But there are problems around the rest of the country :(

munkeseemunkedo: Whenever I've been to a beach, I've always found bits of string, plastic bottles and old fishing nets. On Newsround, I found out that even a tiny bit of plastic harms the environment. I would like to know how I can help the environment even if I don't live near the sea.
Laura: Even if you don't live near the sea, you can still do your bit, by being careful what you flush down the toilet and how you get rid of your rubbish because everything that ends up in the rivers and streams around the country, will end up in the sea at some point. There are beach patrols each summer which you can get involved in too.

hockey: I find that most of the beaches that I have visited in England are generally very clean except for the odd beach.
Laura: Lots of towns and cities do want their beaches to be clean, and are trying to make them clean - which is good news. But there's still a lot of rubbish and pollution out at sea, which we can't see so it's harder to do something about.

shark: Why do you think that there is so much pollution in our waters?
Laura: I think it's because until now, lots of people have thought of the sea as a big dustbin and that we can just throw in lots of rubbish and sewage and forget about it. People's opinions are changing about this, but we've done a lot of damage already.

hockey: But don't you think that the issue of pollution is unavoidable with so many people living in the UK?
Laura: It's not just a question of numbers of people in the country, it's more about how much rubbish we produce. There's lots of packaging on products now that we just throw away, and if we were all more careful about recycling things and maybe using less of things like polythene bags, there wouldn't be such a problem.

Martha the simply fantastic onion: Do you think sea pollution could be prevented if we didn't fish in boats that are powered with fuel?
Laura: That's probably true - although I can't think of any other ways that I know of, to fish, unless it's in fishing boats powered by fuel. People do want to eat fish, and fisherman do have to fish in this way to stay in business.

Martha the simply fantastic onion: I reckon people think that when they throw rubbish into the sea, the majority of it will rot. Yes, it probably will in time, but think of the damage done before it rots.
Laura: That's a good point. Plastics take thousands of years to break down. Even when they do break up into little pieces, they can still be very harmful.

tHe_MysStiC_girl: Climatologists and scientists (mostly in America and Japan) have been saying that if an ice age were to start, it's most likely to start in Plymouth. It's only a theory, but it's probably wrong.
Laura: Let's hope that that never does happen! At the moment, nobody knows really what's going on. We do know the climate is changing around the world - no one is definitely sure if that's because of pollution and what we're doing, but of course it's really important for us to be careful and look after the environment.

¤°»miss * sixty«°¤: I think the government should start encouraging more people to switch to renewable energy companies. So..tell me something about sea pollution as I didn't watch Newsround today.
Laura: If you missed Newsround Extra, you can catch it here, on the Newsround website.

Well, that's about all I have time for this evening.

Thanks for all your questions and comments on sea pollution - don't forget you can watch the extra by clicking on the link below if you missed the show!

See you all soon,

Laura x

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