Last Friday, I met with Charlotte Hutton of Sheffield-based Plastic Free Project Facebook Group and Richard Souter of Sheffield Friends of the Earth to hear their concerns about environmental damage caused by plastic. Like Charlotte and Richard, I believe that the Government should produce a Plastic Pollution Action Plan to tackle this serious problem.
Twelve million tonnes of plastic pour into the oceans every year, with still more spread over land, buried in soil, or lying in lakes and rivers. This pollution causes serious harm to wildlife as sea creatures can mistake plastic for food or become tangled in plastic debris.
Tiny ‘microplastics’, which are created by the wear and tear of tyres, paints, bottles, and other plastic objects, are particularly damaging to the environment. These small plastic particles can be digested by animals, putting toxic chemicals into the food chain.
Everyone can help tackle the plastics crisis by making changes in their own lives. But to really make a difference, the Government must take action to stop the flow of plastic to our oceans.
The Government must adopt a practical plan, backed up by new legislation, which phases out unnecessary single-use plastic and aims for near zero plastic pollution by 2042.