It’s not my day job: Adam Sennitt, Surfers Against Sewage rep

In our new series, it's not my day job, we look at what CIWEM members are doing outside of their 9 to 5 to help the planet. To kick off the series we hear from Adam Sennitt, coastal engineer at Coastal Partners, a member of CIWEM's early-careers network steering group and volunteer rep for marine-conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage.

Tell us more about your role as an Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) rep

I joined as a regional ambassador for Surfers Against Sewage as I wanted to inspire, unite and empower local communities to protect the oceans, beaches, waves and wildlife where I live. It is about being that positive role model for surfers, the community and the environment.

The voluntary position is designed to fit around the busyness of your life, and can vary from organising and running beach cleans, conducting education talks to reporting pollution events and highlighting local and national campaigns. We are a community/network of ocean activists across the country, trying to make a difference.

What are the best and most challenging parts of being an SAS rep?

It is great to be a part of a community of likeminded ocean activists who want to make a difference in their local community. For me it is seeing the increase in people’s awareness and involvement within communities to get stuck in and clean the local beaches.

By harnessing local people power we are really making a difference. There will always be challenges, for me it is seeing the often-slow progress nationally to change policies for instance against single-use plastics and the continuing degradation of our waterways from sewage pollution.

Can you describe your proudest moment as an SAS rep?

Probably working with other likeminded activists in Portsmouth to achieve Plastic Free Communities status. Uniting the community to fight against single-use plastics, removing and reducing from local businesses, individual households, schools and local universities.

Has your role as an SAS rep made you feel more or less hopeful about the state of the UK’s coastlines?

At a local level, the interest and involvement within the community has grown over the last six years I have been involved, with more and more people attending beach cleans. The community drive has been great!

However, the problem is not going away anytime soon with plastic production on the rise and massive issues with sewage pollution only getting worse.

I am optimistic but change needs to happen higher up the ladder within government policy and the big corporate organisations, this is where we need to see radical action.

What’s the biggest lesson about the environment you’ve learnt as an SAS rep?

No matter how big or small, collectively we can make a massive different locally to improve the fragile environments we love.

What pearl of wisdom would you offer to other water and environmental professionals who’re considering becoming an SAS rep?

Wherever you live, whether its by the coast, or 100 miles from it, if you have a real passion for the environment and making a different within your local community, then get involved!

You also don’t need to be a rep to make a difference, you can attend one of the hundreds of organised cleans in your local area or have a go at organising one yourself. If you don’t have time to get involved in an event why not carry out a quick #minibeachclean.

How does your work as an SAS rep influence your work at Coastal Partners?

It has really influenced my day-to-day work, inspiring me to do more to enhance our workplace responsibilities. I have formed a sustainability-action group, to work towards implementing a sustainability-action plan, empowering colleagues to educate others and promote good environmental practice.

I am also part of our internal climate-change action group working to establish a long-term vision for Coastal Partners to deliver across our projects and partnering authorities.

What’s next for you as an SAS rep?

Who knows?! Continue to ‘fight the good fight’ to inspire the next generation of ocean activists and challenge industry to do better!

Find out more about becoming an SAS rep here:

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