With temperatures rising to unprecedented levels and the hottest February ever, climate scientists say we now face a climate emergency.
To avoid catastrophic climate change, they say we need drastic cuts in the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases we put into the air.
That means leaving most of the existing reserves of fossil fuels (oil, coal, gas) in the ground. Plastics are made from oil – a fossil fuel – containing large carbon-containing compounds that do not decay.
South West Beds MP Andrew Selous responded positively to South Beds Friends of the Earth’s request to support its local initiative to reduce plastic pollution in Leighton Buzzard.
A group of residents in Leighton Buzzard is currently working with South Beds Friends of the Earth and hope to work with the town council to reduce plastic pollution in the town.
They have already drawn up a list of shops and businesses who are decisively making changes to reduce their plastic packaging and products.
But they say much more is needed and at government level too, and Mr Selous attended an event at the House of Commons last week in support of the launch of the “Drastic on Plastic” initiative by national Friends of the Earth and the Women’s Institute. The initiative brings together local Friends of the Earth groups and MPs to call for legislation to: begin phasing out unneeded plastics; end pollution from hard-to-replace plastics such as car tyres, paints and clothing; aim for near zero plastic pollution by 2042; and for these targets to be embedded into the upcoming Environment Bill 2019.
A spokesman for South Beds Friends of the Earth said: “Since the 1950s when plastic consumption really began, humans have produced 8.3 billion tonnes of it of which only 9% has been recycled into other products.
“David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 11 has brought the scale and impact of plastic pollution to everyone’s attention. It’s not just plastic bags, straws and bottles, there are many, many other sources of plastic pollution, from clothing to cosmetics, paint, tyres to carpets. The manufacture, day to day use and disposal of plastic products is harming wildlife, polluting our air, soil, food and water, and driving climate change.
“There is lots we can do about this together, at home and at work; for more information on what you can do please contact : http:/southbedsfoe.co.uk, friendsoftheearth.uk, and surfers against sewage sas.org.uk.”
Over 210,000 people have signed a Friends of the Earth petition calling for government action on plastic pollution: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/plastics