RAY COBBETT: Aiming towards plastic-free towns

Friends of the Earth would like to see towns go plastic-free. This plastic was found on Hayling beach
Friends of the Earth would like to see towns go plastic-free. This plastic was found on Hayling beach
RX435 by John Gowen

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The Friends of the Earth co-ordinator says councils must do more

When she launched the government’s 25 year environment plan earlier this year, Teresa May pledged to eliminate plastic waste by 2042.

Among other measures Mrs May wanted to see more plastic-free aisles in supermarkets, a deposit-return scheme for Britain’s 13 billion plastic bottles and extension of the very successful 5p charge for plastic bags to small retailers.

Films like Plastic Ocean, a documentary, made by an Australian journalist and shot by David Jones, a Chichester-based underwater cameraman, and recently screened by Havant Friends of the Earth, have made a deep and lasting impact.

The film features David Attenborough whose own Blue Planet series on TV sparked off various nationwide beach cleaning campaigns as well as raised public awareness of how the plastic waste we all create is causing the death and near extinction of hundreds of marine creatures.

During the recent election Havant Friends of the Earth wrote to every candidate inviting them to make a pledge to help reduce plastic waste in the borough.

The seven point pledge asked the council to set an example by using non-plastic products, reducing micro plastic pollution, providing water re-filling points and producing more publicity to residents on the avoidance and disposal of plastic waste.

Of the 52 candidates invited a third committed to join the campaign.

The next step is to bring forward a motion and give the full council the opportunity to show its support and thus send an important message to Havant’s 120,000 residents.

As a rapidly expanding community with more than 50 kilometres of coastline, Havant, like many seaside borough’s, has a special interest in pollution-free seas.

Individuals and some local businesses have already shown extraordinary commitment to cleaning up the area.

It is now time for councils everywhere to join their residents on the challenging journey towards plastic free towns.