'˜We all have a responsibility to tackle plastic waste'

The global production of plastics is about 400 million tonnes.

Wednesday, 11th July 2018, 4:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 6:54 pm

It has been estimated that between  five to10 million metric tons of plastic finds its way into our oceans every year which is the equivalent to one refuse collection truck every minute.

In the UK the average UK household uses approximately 480 plastic bottles each year we only recycle about 50 per cent of them which means that in the UK alone we are failing to recycle 16 million bottles in the UK.

Plastic debris and microplastics is transported by ocean currents across borders.

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It is found everywhere, even on the remotest shores of uninhabited islands, in the Arctic ice, the deep ocean and in a broad array of marine organisms.

In the South Pacific there is a sea of plastic which is the size of Mexico and there is rarely a week that goes by without a major article issued in the news on plastic marine pollution.

The 'leakage' of this debris into our oceans has serious environmental, social and economic consequences.

It harms wildlife, safety of sea transport, fisheries, tourism, recreation, it threatens marine ecosystems and morally should be considered a common concern of mankind.

I hope that you like me have been heartened about the change in public perception and

awareness on marine plastic, however we can no longer be silent observers in respect of

this problem.

It is reported that there are 10 major rivers on the world responsible for the

pollution of the marine environment and eight of those are in Asia.

Why should we be so concerned about this and what can we do in South Hampshire to solve this problem?

Single Use Plastics is one of the leading global problems that we are facing, the material

takes 100s of years to degrade and as the pollution spreads through the currents is affecting the marine life in all seas and oceans including ours around the UK.

As a Council we have a responsibility in the provision of waste collection which includes

kerbside recycling which enable our residents to plastic bottles from the waste stream and

in time hope to extend this to other plastic materials.

In response we must reduce the amount of plastics we use and recycle what we do so that

we minimise plastic waste.

Stopping the use of plastic straws, plastic bags finding alternatives for plastics and making we sure our countryside and beaches are kept litter free.

We as a Council are committing to remove SUPs from our buildings and put pressure on our government to take positive action to ban plastics.

We must develop an education programme to roll out to schools and local businesses and restaurants to support the phasing out of SUPs.

We won't sort out all the problems of marine pollution and SUP on our own by making this

commitment, however as a coastal region we should be taking a lead in this area and 'think globally and act locally' and leading by example and participating in a wider globalcorporate responsibility.