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We must look after the oceans, says Devon beauty queen Susana Barnard

PUBLISHED: 10:53 18 August 2014 | UPDATED: 10:53 18 August 2014

Susana Barnard, photographed at Meadfoot Beach by John English of The Owl and The Pussycat Photography.

Susana Barnard, photographed at Meadfoot Beach by John English of The Owl and The Pussycat Photography.

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Miss Earth Devon is on a mission to protect the seas from pollution and support the Marine Conservation Society

Susana Barnard, photographed at Meadfoot Beach by John English of The Owl and The Pussycat Photography. Susana Barnard, photographed at Meadfoot Beach by John English of The Owl and The Pussycat Photography.

Twenty-four year old beauty queen from Torquay, Susana Barnard will be competing in the Miss Earth UK Grand Finals taking place in Birmingham on 21 September.

She will be representing Devon and will be competing against young women from all over the UK in order to be titled Miss Earth England.

The Miss Earth pageant sees young women from all over the world compete to be titled ‘Miss Earth’ in order to become an ambassador and be able to campaign for environmental protection and conservation across the globe.

Susana has taken part in a number of activities for charitable causes. She has cycled from London to Brighton in aid of ‘The British Heart Foundation’, jumped out of an aeroplane in aid of a female cancer charity named ‘The Eve Appeal’. She is also a new blood donor.

Susana Barnard, photographed at Meadfoot Beach by John English of The Owl and The Pussycat Photography. Susana Barnard, photographed at Meadfoot Beach by John English of The Owl and The Pussycat Photography.

Now she has been awarded the title of Miss Earth Devon and aims to focus her energy on raising funds and awareness for The Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

It has recently come to her attention that the ocean is often neglected by humans because we only live on land so don’t see the need to protect it. She is currently working on a project where she makes new things out of recycled materials, sells them and donates the funds to MCS.

Susana’s current aim is to inform and educate the public on the impacts we have on our environment and demonstrate the simple ways in which we can improve it.

She says: “It is absolutely vital that we keep our land clean but keeping the ocean clean is just as important. Most of us know that the ocean covers the majority of the earth’s surface so it is imperative that we look after it.

“The ocean is home to millions of incredible species, some of those we encounter today, like the jellyfish which have existed before dinosaurs did and some, like the blue whale are so enormous they can weigh up to 200 tons. Even its tongue weighs as much as a whole elephant and its heart is the size of a car.

“According to the Marine Conservation Society beach litter is at its highest level since records began. It is washing up on shores killing wildlife, it looks awful, it is hazardous to the people’s health and it costs millions to clear up.

“Shockingly, there are nearly 2,000 items of rubbish for every kilometre of beach. Turtles will mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and the bags will block their stomachs which can often lead to their demise caused by starvation.

“MCS also state that plastic litter has increased 140% since 1994. They also state that ‘six out of seven species of marine turtle have become critically endangered due to human activities’. I am urging people to just take more care and notice of the sea. Don’t neglect it. Protect it. Keep it clean. The sea is home to millions and millions of creatures, some of which we eat. It is arguable that we could possibly be eating contaminated fish because they could be feeding from contaminated plankton and of course only because we contaminate their habitat.”

Susana says there are simple steps to help keep the ocean healthy:

• Stop using plastic bags. Use the re-usable ones instead.

• Stop using consumer products that contain micro-beads. Some facial scrubs and body wash contain this harmful ingredient which can kill sea life.

• If you notice pollution spill in the sea then contact your local council to report it. You should also contact the environment agency’s Pollution Hotline; it is the same free number wherever you may be in the UK -0800 807060

• If you are on the beach do not bury your rubbish in the sand. Use bins provided.

• Try not to put fats and oils down the sink.

• Do not flush rubbish down the toilet.

• Use water wisely. The less we use, the less there is to treat.

• Check your plumbing- Go to connectright.org.uk to make sure your home plumbing is correctly connected and isn’t polluting the environment.

• If you love to eat fish then make sure you choose sustainably. Use the fish to eat and avoid guide available from the MCS or download the iPhone app. Alternatively, visit fishonline.org

You can follow Susana’s journey by liking her Facebook page ‘Miss Earth Devon 2014’.

If you wish to support by donating you can do so via the Virgin Money Giving website and searching ‘Susana Barnard’ where she is currently raising funds for The Marine Conservation Society.

Photos: theowlandthepussycatweddingphotography.com

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