Finding a baby seal trapped in netting on a remote beach would prove a life-changing moment for nine-year-old Marcia Frith.

To see the harsh reality of man's impact on nature at such an early age opened her eyes, and has shaped her actions ever since.

Now with two children of her own, Marcia is one of the people behind a movement to ditch plastic waste across Cumbria.

Buoyed by the Blue Planet II TV series - which revealed shocking footage of vast amounts of plastics in our oceans and the devastating impact it is having on marine life - she decided enough was enough.

Together with her sister Heidi, who runs a similar campaign in Plymouth, she set up the Plastic Free Cumbria page on Facebook, initially hoping to attract a few like-minded individuals to spread the word.

The pair have been left stunned by the response, with more than 6,500 people - more than one per cent of the total population of Cumbria - having joined the group in just a few weeks.

It is now providing a forum for sharing tips on ditching plastic and raising awareness of the need for urgent change.

And it is not just online that Cumbrians are taking action.

In the past week, residents on the west coast have been out cleaning up their beaches and Carlisle City Council has launched a bid to become a plastic free city - spurred on by the arrival of a giant whale skeleton exhibit at Tullie House, likely killed by plastic pollution.

Marcia, of Staveley in south Cumbria, said momentum is gathering in the county, and she wants to keep that going.

She explained where her passion comes from.

"We used to live up in the Shetland Isles when we were children. I remember walking on the rocks with my mum and coming across a seal pup covered in fisherman's netting," said Marcia.

"We were there for what seemed like hours trying to free it. I remember saying to my mum that was one lucky little pup. If it had been there much longer it would have died. I suddenly realised that there must be lots of animals in that situation, but with nobody walking past. That must be happening day in day out.

"That's a childhood experience that I will never forget, saying 'how can we let that happen?' I was about nine so there was still that naivity, but I was quite overwhelmed by that realisation."

Now living in Cumbria with husband Paul, daughter Islay, 13, and son Finlay, 10, the family take great steps to protect the environment, recycle, reuse and find plastic-free alternatives.

"For me I am determined to educate my children so they understand why we recycle and play their part in it. We need to make changes, but also share those experiences with the next generation."

A keen fell runner and snowboarder, she is stunned to see how much litter people leave behind in the countryside.

But she said the Blue Planet series has made people sit up and realise what's happening, and has been a tipping point.

"I think David Attenborough is fantastic. What he has done at this late stage in his career, standing up as someone who is already respected and saying this is how it is, this is what we are doing to our own planet. It was quite emotional to watch," she said.

"When you see animals entangled in plastic it hits it home. We've been 'cotton wooled'. We put out our recycling then forget about it, thinking we've done our bit. Suddenly we've seen the bigger picture.

"People on the whole have become more environmentally aware, but Blue Planet has made them want to do much more.

"The response we've had shows how passionate Cumbrian people are about their environment and the impact we have on it."

Marcia added that people are quick to blame supermarkets and big corporations, but changes have to start closer to home.

By ditching plastic products and packaging, she believes it sends out a clear message to these companies, and they will respond.

"Iceland have already reacted with their own brand products, so change is starting to happen. The trouble is they talk about 2023, but we need to be doing it before then. We don't want to wait. This is important now. We want action quickly," she said.

The best way to take a stand, she said, is to stop using plastics wherever possible.

"There are simple things we can do. That's what the group is about. Sharing those ideas. You can switch from plastic toothbrushes to bamboo and carry a refillable water bottle.

"A big no-no for me are plastic straws. They are one of those things that have no real use, they are unnecessary," she said.

"Across Cumbria there are already campaign groups in some areas, doing some great work. But we are not always good at sharing that with the rest of the county. Cumbria is a big place.

"For us it was about being able to have one port of call, which happens to be online, where people can find out what's happening here already, and where they can get alternative products from.

"That's our focus now. We know the passion is there, we know people want to make a difference, we are now creating an opportunity to share the good work that's going on across Cumbria."

Another Cumbrian taking a stand is Mark Shackley, from Whitehaven, who organised a beach clean after being shocked by the TV footage.

"I've been watching Blue Planet and seeing all that island of rubbish in the sea really made me think. We live on this Earth but we are wrecking it. It's not the animals, it's us humans," he said.

"If we all picked a few bits of rubbish up when we were out on the beach it would help. It's only a little thing, but if everyone did something little it would soon mount up."

Last weekend saw simultaneous events at Whitehaven's North Shore and St Bees, with families and individuals braving the cold to remove bags full of rubbish from the coastline.

Mark now plans to make it a monthly event, praising the Blue Planet series for raising vital awareness.

"It can only be a good thing. It's now going to Government and they are starting to take action on plastic straws, bottles and packaging.

"I like this idea of getting 25p back when you take your bottles back, like you used to with glass ones. It's quite a basic idea but it's something that could really work," he added.

Whitehaven town councillor, Siobhan Gearing, has also organised a community clean up in Ulldale Road, Mirehouse.

The event takes place on Sunday, February 25 and she is urging all those in the area to join in.

"I walk this route to and from school four times a day and seeing it get increasingly worse saddens me.

"My children question me as to why our area looks the way it does because they have, and continue to be, taught why it is important to bin rubbish," she said.

Sir David Attenborough: Environmental Crusader

He may be in his nineties, but Sir David Attenborough is arguably one of the most influential environmental figures of the current time.

His Blue Planet II series showcased some of the spectacular secrets of marine life, but it also revealed a darker reality - the man-made plastic menace that is destroying our oceans.

The episodes, screened at the end of last year, showed islands of plastic waste taking over the ocean, albatross inadvertently feeding plastic to their chicks and turtles entangled in plastic sacks.

It also raised awareness of deadly microplastics - tiny plastic particles used in the manufacture of many common household products - that are polluting the oceans and killing wildlife.

In his closing speech of the series, the naturalist and national treasure, stressed: “The future of all life now depends on us."

Plastic Free Cumbria's 10 easy ways to ditch plastic:

1. Give up plastic water bottles

Simple, don't buy them! We managed it with plastic bags and now we need to do it with water. Carry around a reusable water bottle, preferably not made of plastic.

2. Soft drinks don't have to come in a bottle

If you drink soft drinks then why not invest in a fizzy drink maker. It will save you money and cut down on your recycling load.

3. Try shower gel and shampoo bars

You can now buy shower gel and shampoo bars instead of those in plastic bottles. This will seem like a big change initially but there are lots of naturally-made scented alternatives available. Choose those not wrapped in plastic. They last forever.

4. Buy loose fruit and vegetables

When you go shopping try to buy loose products. If you need to put them in a bag before adding them to your basket, use the brown paper mushroom bags instead of plastic ones.

5. Think about food storage

Abandon zip-lock, sandwich and freezer bags and instead reuse some of the containers you would have thrown in the recycling, such as soup, margarine and yoghurt pots.

6. Go for reusable coffee cups

If you love your coffee on the go, buy a bamboo re-usable coffee up. If you forget it, refuse the plastic lid and avoid plastic stirrers.

7. Boycott plastic straws

Get into the habit of saying 'no straw' please when ordering a drink. Most establishments do not even ask whether you want one or not. If a straw is a must, then ask for a paper one or carry a reusable straw.

8. Ditch plastic cutlery

Takeaway meals often come with plastic cutlery. Instead carry a wooden fork, knife and spoon in your bag or car for food on the go.

9. The return of the milkman

How many empty milk cartons do you throw out each week? Why not save yourself a shopping trip and have them delivered to your doorstep in glass returnable bottles?

10. Use cling film alternatives

This is easy to avoid and there are some great beeswax alternatives. If cost is an issue, cut up the inside of cereal packets and use an elastic band. Plenty of them are left on the street by the postmen.