LETTER OF THE DAY: More action on plastic waste

Although better late than never, it would appear the government is at last taking the issue of plastic pollution a lot more seriously than just sticking 5p on plastic carrier bags, thanks to the latest BBC masterpiece Planet Earth II presented by the great naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

The pollution of our oceans is actually a far more pressing issue than atmospheric pollution as it actually fuels and speeds up climate change.

The planet needs healthy oceans to keep producing the bulk of our oxygen and they regulate the planets weather too.

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We must maintain the health of our biggest eco-system which sustains all life on Earth.

Unfortunately, for too long we’ve regarded it as a rubbish tip but we can reduce and eventually eliminate plastic pollution in our local environment but we need an international effort to clean up the oceans.

Recently I read that 40 per cent of all the plastic in the sea comes from tributaries of the Ganges. If this is true then India really needs to step up to the plate and quickly.

Floating around in the Pacific there are two islands of mainly plastic waste known by the oceanographers as the Eastern & Western ‘Garbage Patches’ and they can be clearly seen from space and are estimated to be the size of France and weigh billions of tons.

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It has all accumulated together because of the effects of the ocean currents (the Earth’s ‘gyre’) but to grasp the enormity of this and for a full scientific explanation I would recommend readers check out the excellent National Geographic website.

On the good news front though it now appears that President Trump wants the US to rejoin the Paris Climate Change Agreement (CCA) as long as the US can get what he feels is a fairer deal – and whatever that might entail it’s still great news to have the US come back on board, right?

China is getting on her bike too in tackling the plastic crisis and has banned all imported plastic waste including that from the UK which is good for us too because it will necessitate us getting off our lazy backsides to manage our own waste instead of exporting it to others to sort out for us.

If you believe as I do however, that climate change is an ongoing natural earth cycle and at best we may be able to slow it down in regards to our own contribution by reducing oceanic and atmospheric pollution and eventually eliminating it altogether, we can’t however stop climate change and as it’s a natural occurrence and as if to demonstrate this point approximately 12,000 years ago long before the Industrial Revolution Portsmouth was under 300 metres of ice...but man adapted and survived.

T Gardiner

Carisbrooke Road, Gosport