A Devon village has become the first in the UK to ban polystyrene body boards after residents petitioned to have them scrapped in order to protect marine wildlife.
Westward Ho! near Bideford in Devon has self-imposed the polystyrene board ban on every independent retailer in the coastal village in a bid to protect the environment.
Single-use polystyrene boards can harm marine wildlife which often confuse plastic particles for food.
Single-use polystyrene boards can harm marine wildlife which often confuse plastic particles for food (file image)
An online referendum last November resulted a landslide vote that saw over 97 per cent of 1,600 local residents calling for a board ban, according to The Telegraph.
Businesses in the village that have stopped selling the boards include the Post Office, Westbourne Souveniers and Ho! Village Stores among others.
The decision comes after a joint 18-month campaign involving Plastic Free Torridge, Keep Britain Tidy’s Ocean Recovery Project and Plastic Free North Devon.
Andrew Cross of Plastic Free Torridge hailed the efforts of shops which have put the 'planet before profit' in order to protect wildlife from the damage caused by the boards.
Westward Ho! (pictured) near Bideford in Devon has self-imposed the polystyrene board ban on every independent retailer in the coastal village in a bid to protect the environment
Mr Cross told the publication: 'We can't change many things in the environment, but this is something we can change.
'This is something we can control, and this is the spirit of this self imposed ban.'
When they boards break, polystyrene beads are scattered on to the sand, posing a big risk to wildlife.
The majority of the boards that cause the problem are brightly coloured and decorated with cartoon characters to appeal to youngsters.
Keep Britain Tidy, a UK-based independent environmental charity, found that 16,000 polystyrene body boards are left on UK beaches every year.