Businesses, MPs, academics and campaign groups have written to Boris Johnson urging him to introduce legally binding targets to reduce plastic pollution.
In their letter, the group have said that while government initiatives – such as the ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds – have had positive impacts, a more overarching approach is needed to deal with the plastic problem.
This call comes as MPs are set to debate amendments to the Environment Bill in Parliament later today.
An amendment calling for legally binding plastics reduction targets to be included in the bill has been tabled by Conservative MP Chris Loder.
Chris Loder, said: ‘The Government has made great strides towards tackling the scourge of plastic pollution. My amendment takes this further. We generate so much plastic waste here in the UK that it needs to be shipped abroad, whilst supermarkets and large retailers have no requirement to reduce their excessive plastic usage. Now is the time to get a grip of plastic pollution, once and for all.’
Although the government’s focus has rightly been on the Covid-19 pandemic, the letter highlights that the plastic problem has not gone worse, and in fact, appears to have got worse during the pandemic, with disposable face masks found on more than two-thirds of recent Marine Conservation Society beach cleanups.
Friends of the Earth plastic campaigner Camilla Zerr said: ‘Despite the introduction of a few welcome measures, the government must go much further to stem the rising tide of plastic pollution pouring into our environment.
‘Boris Johnson has a golden opportunity to get to grips with the crisis by ensuring that the Environment Bill contains legally binding targets for reducing the amount of plastic waste polluting our planet every year
‘The government has promised to be a world leader on the environment and set a gold standard for cutting down on plastic waste. Now it’s time to deliver.’
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