Sunday, May 26, 2019

Action to curb plastic pollution

The Environment Secretary has announced action to ban plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds – tackling plastic pollution and ensuring we leave our environment in a better state for future generations. 

Key facts
  • Following an open consultation, a ban on the supply of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds will come into force in April 2020 – ahead of the EU’s proposal for a ban on these items in 2021. 
  • In England, we use an estimated 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds with many of these ending up in waterways and oceans. 
  • In our response to the consultation published today, over 80 per cent of respondents back a ban on the distribution and sale of plastic straws, whilst 90 per cent back a ban on drinks stirrers, and 89 per cent back a ban on cotton buds. 
  • We know there are instances where using plastic straws is necessary for medical reasons and the Government will therefore ensure that those that need to use plastic straws for medical reasons can still access them 

Why this matters:

Urgent and decisive action is needed to tackle plastic pollution and protect our environment. These items are often used for just a few minutes but take hundreds of years to break down, ending up in our seas and oceans and harming precious marine life.

I know there will be people reading this who complain that Britain is only a small part of the problem and decry this as a measure that will not have much effect.

I disagree. We are a rich country, we have a duty to fix our contribution to the problem. In the words of a great Conservative thinker,

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