Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Why it’s so important we do all we can to #PassOnPlastic

Last October like millions of other viewers I sat down to watch Blue Planet 2. It was even more spectacular than the original Blue Planet and thanks to David Attenborough and the amazing research and film crew, the programme was able to unfold some of the mysteries of our oceans and its amazing inhabitants. 

However, it was rightly not all easy watching. The terrible issue of plastic seriously polluting our seas and threatening so many species of fish was clearly brought to all our attention. 

It was a good wake up call for all of us, and I have been pleased to see the issue, quite rightly, gain a lot of publicity since the programme aired at the end of last year. 

Of course, the issue isn’t just about protecting our oceans. As a council one of our priorities is to try and reduce waste wherever possible. This makes sense both in terms of the effect on the environment and the cost to the taxpayer. 

Single-use plastic is a particular area of concern as it can have such a detrimental effect on our environment and, sadly, there are many items which cannot be recycled sustainably. 

The amount of single-use plastics which are discarded every day is quite shocking so we simply must act now.

For the majority of us, plastic has become an integral part of our lives, it is everywhere - but does it really have to be? What other choices do we have and how do we wean ourselves off plastic? 

To help highlight the seriousness of this issue we are supporting Waste Week to raise awareness, and we’re asking everyone to take up the challenge to #PassonPlastic. 

Now I know it is a big ask, but this is important and if we all make an effort then we will go some way to saving our oceans. 

It’s certainly not impossible. If you can recall many were dependent on plastic bags when out shopping. Since the introduction of a 5p charge for bags, it is now common place for people to take a reusable bag out and about with them. It’s heartening to see how we have changed. And if most of us have managed to do this one small step, then further steps to cut down on plastics shouldn’t be so hard.

For example - small plastic bottles containing juice or water – do we really need to buy them? Can we make up drinks using reusable bottles? It is easier and cheaper – and doesn’t take too long to do either.

Looking round the supermarkets a lot of plastic is there supposedly to make our lives easier but they have serious consequences for the environment. Many plastics take hundreds of years to break down – so what supposedly saves us 10 mins could be in the environment for over 100 years. 

In West Sussex we’re fortunate enough to be able to recycle lots of different types of plastics at home through our kerbside recycling bins. Recycling is important – but what is even more important is cutting down on waste in the first place.

So please join me and #PassonPlastic, not just on Waste Week but forever.