A CAMPAIGN to get youngsters thinking about the impact they have on the environment has come to Dorset.

The project is also helping to clean up an iconic part of Portland as 40 students from Kingston Maurward College took part in a beach clean at Chesil Cove.

The clean-up was organised by environmental project the Raw Foundation.

The litter was taken back to Kingston Maurward where it will be used to create an art sculpture.

Melinda Watson, founder and director of the Somerset-based group, said: “The beach clean is part of a workshop we’ve been doing with these students, helping them to think about how their habits affect the environment.

“It’s so rewarding to see them starting to think about their actions, to go from buying a fizzy drink every day to re-using plastic bottles when they can.”

The students, part of a special needs group at the college, filled more than 40 bags of rubbish during the two hours they spent cleaning the beach.

Nicky Porter, section leader for foundation studies at Kingston Maurward, said: “The students have really enjoyed this exercise.

“They’re so open to new ways of thinking and raising awareness about consumption habits.

“This project is beneficial not just for personal and environmental reasons, but because it will also go towards the employability and personal development parts of their qualifications.”

The students picked up a range of litter from the beach during the event, using it to spell out words on the pebbles.

Sophie Holmes, 17, said: “I’ve found canisters, plastic bottles, sweet wrappers and plastic rings. I think all sorts of things get washed up here, but the beach looks a lot better now than when we started.”

Michael Wheeler, also 17, said: “I think our work will help the wildlife, and it’s really important to look after rare species.

“I’ve really enjoyed the beach clean, there’s been some good teamwork and good weather.”

Rhys George, 17, said: “The sculpture is a going to be a masterpiece.

“I enjoyed the beach clean, but making a piece of art out of all that plastic is what I’ve been looking forward to.”

Melinda added: “We wanted the beach clean to be part of a bigger project, so that the rubbish did not get thrown away, but turned into something else to show how creative recycling can be.”

The Raw Foundation is now looking to expand the project into more schools in the Dorset area.

Melinda said: “The beach clean is important, but we see it as only one aspect in a process of changing habits and getting people to think about what happens to rubbish when they throw it away.”