I recently had the pleasure of joining the International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, in meeting Sir David Attenborough to address the growing crisis surrounding global plastic pollution.
Sir David shared the astonishing fact that we now produce 400 million tonnes of plastic every single year and that around 10 million tonnes of this finds its way into our oceans. He was quick to add that “the consequence of this, both to humanity and life in the seas upon which we depend, is hideous”. Labour’s own Mary Creagh, who chairs the Environmental Audit Committee, added that the UK alone uses 13 billion plastic bottles a year, of which 5 and a half billion end up either littered, sent to landfills or incinerated. We, as a community and as a nation, should take care to ensure the streets we walk and the rivers and streams which grace our local areas are kept clean. The local charity Greenstreams works hard to ensure people can enjoy our riverside green areas and that these cherished places are kept clean and pollution free. The project, of course, needs help in achieving its goals and anyone who, like myself, is keen to begin the fightback against growing pollution in our area should make sure to get involved.
The event, co-hosted by the Coalition for Global Prosperity, Plastic Oceans UK and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prevention of Plastic Waste, has shone a much needed spotlight on the UK’s commitment to reducing the plastic waste we see across our planet and it was reassuring to hear that Penny Morndaunt, our International Development Secretary, has doubled the aid support for plastic recycling across the developing world, a much needed step in the right direction but this should not be, by any means, all we do to fight this growing crisis and I believe Britain should be a leading voice in the fight against plastic pollution.
Now more than ever, I encourage my everyone to be proactive in tackling pollution, both in our rivers and streams and on our streets. Meeting Sir David Attenborough was a true privilege, but it is clear from what he said that the time for action is now, not in the future when it may be too late.