Plastic reduction targets
Thank you so much to everyone who has written to me to support Greenpeace’s campaign to take urgent action on the plastic pollution crisis. Thank you for mentioning me in the list of very supportive MPs for this campaign.
You can be in no doubt that I will be pushing the Government to adopt strong plastic reduction targets. I will be writing to the Secretary of State to ask for this, as well as action on the Deposit Return Scheme and on Plastic in Wet Wipes and Clean Air.
11 million tonnes of plastic waste enters our oceans every year and the amount spent on recycling plastic is dwarfed by expenditure on new plastic products and factories globally. Disintegrating plastics release greenhouse gases and incineration releases toxic fumes into the air. Too often plastics are seen as a waste issue and this lets the producers off the hook, instead the very production of plastic from a fossil fuel – oil – must be challenged and reduced.
Having been on the Environment Bill Committee, I am so worried that the Government will not take action that last year I introduced my own Bill to Ban Plastic in Wet Wipes. This is a huge problem in itself as we use billions of wet wipes a year in this country and many are flushed out into rivers and seas and block our drains and sewers.
As a result of my Bill, the Government held a consultation which had a big response from people across the country and a positive and constructive response from the plastic industry. However this consultation closed in January and nothing has been heard of from the Government since. So I am holding a major event in Parliament next week to raise this with Ministers and keep the pressure up from so many supportive MPs. I will also be re-introducing my Bill into Parliament next Friday – I won’t give up on this.
In the meantime, retailers are taking action and Tesco have already banned wet wipes with plastic from all of their stores, and Boots are phasing this out with very few remaining and a commitment to zero by Christmas. I hope that other stores will follow suit very soon, and the campaign has shown such strong public support.
I did the Big Plastic Count too, and I have been working with Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the Marine Conservative Society and Thames 21 on campaigns to reduce plastic.
There is an event next week that you could join too. If you are able, do join Thames 21 in their Big Wet Wipe Count on Tuesday 11th October. This is people powered research counting wet wipes on the shores of the River Thames, meeting at 9.30am on the southern end of Hammersmith Bridge. Wellies and equipment are provided. Let me know if you can and I’ll send you more details.
Thank you again for joining me in campaigning on a very important environmental issue.