Charge a deposit for everything we currently throw away

ENVIRONMENT

Effort to curb plastic in ocean is ‘bailing bath with a spoon’

By Daily Telegraph Reporter – 2 January 2019

CURRENT efforts to reduce the amount of plastic in the ocean are like trying to bail out an overflowing bath with a teaspoon, an environmental charity has warned.

The devastation caused by plastic pollution was catapulted to the public’s attention in 2018 – largely due to the powerful images broadcast in Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II.

Despite the positive noises, there has been little tangible change in the UK, according to scientists at the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), who say more drastic action is needed.

Dr Laura Foster, head of clean seas at MCS, said: “The most important thing should be to look at stopping the amount going into the ocean.

20pc

The littering rate for on-the-go pieces of plastic that are seen to hold no value, according to Dr Laura Foster

“Think of an overflowing bath with the taps on full blast. We’re trying to bail with a teaspoon, and we’re wondering why that’s not having an effect.

“We need to focus on stopping things going into the ocean in the first place, and it may be that future generations look at a clean-up.”

She added: “We need to incentivise – as soon as you give an empty container a value, you see people’s behaviour change.

“You won’t see them littered – the littering rate for on-the-go items is 20 per cent – but if you have a deposit return scheme on bottles and cans then that’s superb.

Bin the bags everybody

Prompted by the CPRE, I have written to John Hayes asking for his support to address the plastic bag blight our public spaces suffers.

John Hayes MP
South Holland and The Deepings House of Commons
London SW1A0AA

I am writing to ask for your support on the important issue of single-use carrier bags.

Last year was the second in a row to see an increase in the use of single-use bags. In 2011 a total of eight billion ‘thin-gauge’ bags were issued throughout the UK, which represents a 5.4% increase compared with 2010 (7.8 billion). I am very concerned that all of the net growth occurred in England, particularly as England remains the sole home nation not to have a single-use bag levy in place or to be actively seeking to introduce one.

Single-use plastic bags are wasteful of resources and all too often end up as litter, which takes hundreds of years to biodegrade, whether on land or at sea; strewn in our towns, countryside or beaches they are an eyesore, and often a hazard to wildlife.

In 2011, when commenting on 2010 plastic bag use, the Prime Minister said: “Progress overall went backwards last year, and that is unacceptable. Retailers need to do better. I want to see significant falls again. I know that retailers want to do better too but if they don’t I will be asking them to explain why not.”

Locally, I have tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade our local Co-op shop to stop giving out plastic bags as a matter of course, as these have proven to be one of the most significant and obvious causes of local littering. A legally enforced charge, would be a huge step to achieving my ambition for our community.

In October 2011, Wales introduced a levy of 5p per plastic bag. Since then retailers have reported a drop in plastic bag usage of between 70-96%, while Welsh public support for the levy grew to 70%. When Ireland introduced a plastic bag levy in 2002, plastic bag use fell by 90%, as did the amount of litter.

I strongly support the Break the Bag Habit campaign run by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Keep Britain Tidy, the Marine Conservation Society and Surfers Against Sewage, which calls on the Government to reduce litter and waste by requiring retailers to introduce a levy on all new single-use bags.

Please raise my concerns with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman MP, and urge her to introduce a levy on single-use carrier bags in line with the successful actions being taken in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, so that England is not left behind.

Yours sincerely

Gore Lane Fly Tipping

Today’s press contains, yet again, a story about Gore Lane and the ongoing fly tipping problem there.  Although I gave the reporter a fairly comprehensive comment, repeated below, this was abridged for the press item.  

This is a long-term problem area, that is caused by a couple of issues.  The main area of fly tipping has been identified as the collection point for the refuse and recycling generated by adjacent properties.  This is not an ideal situation, but it does address the previous situation, whereby residents were dumping their full refuse bags onto the public footpath, despite many attempts to stop this anti-social practice.
Unfortunately, the creation of a collection point has not reduced the selfish practice of bags being disposed of in to the collection point when they are full, instead of only on the scheduled collection day.  This in turn has encouraged people to fly tip into the collection area.  Put simply, rubbish, attracts rubbish.
The problem of fly tipping is not just restricted to Spalding, or indeed South Holland.  In order to address it effectively, through the use of the law, we need to catch the offenders red-handed.  The very limited resources of the district council means that we need the help of the public to deal with these criminals.  I would therefore ask for the public’s help in identifying these ‘environmental terrorists’.  Without putting themselves at risk, we would ask anybody seeing suspicious activity, to make a note of what is being dumped, the type of vehicle being used, including its number plate if at all possible and a description of the people involved.  This information should be passed on to both the police and the district council.
Finally, the council is also looking at the responsibilities of landlords for the behaviour of their tenants and will be seeking to make them take a more proactive approach to this issue.

My final paragraph could, potentially, of given the reporter a stick with which to beat the council, as the area in question may well belong to SHDC.  That said, if it does, it also gives me a better chance of sorting the problem out as, in the worst case scenario, I will be pushing to have the car park closed, thereby limiting access to the dump site by any vehicles.

This rubbish doesn’t get there on its own and, in the case of a mattress, is unlikely to be carried through the streets by somebody without being noticed.  I have asked for the public’s help in fighting this crime because, without it, we are likely to be fighting a loosing battle.

Time for Co-op to show leadership on environment

Yet again I find myself both frustrated and angered by the behaviour of some of my neighbours in and around Wygate Park.  As you will see from the photos below, a huge amount of alcohol related rubbish is being left in our public open spaces and much of it seems to originate from the Co-op shop in Clover Way.

I will be writing to the Co-op management to ask them to consider banning the use of free plastic bags and avoid the issuing of till receipts unless actually asked for by their customers.

Wind energy companies have blood on their hands

A colleague from another council, has just sent me a link to a recent newspaper story that, even if only partially true,  is so horrifying that the government should shut down the wind energy industry in this country immediately.  Poisoning China.

So, not only are the wind energy companies robbing the British people blind, with the enthusiastic blessing of both this and the previous government, they appear to also be robbing Chinese people of their futures, all in the name of protecting the environment.