Plastic pollution: Time to clean up our act?

This week’s Advertiser includes a story highlighting the Surfers Against Sewage beach clean event (read here), which although highly important and commendable demonstrates a sadness that we need it in the first place.

In the UK approximately 38.5 million single-use plastic bottles are used every day with only half the number recycled.

With the majority of marine litter being plastic which never completely breaks down, damage to the environment is significant. Experts suggest plastic can takes 450 years to degrade while attracting toxic chemicals which become increasingly harmful over time.

These items often enter our food chain as they are eaten by fish, seabirds and marine mammals.

One suggestion is that that we should pay a deposit on plastic bottles.The practise has been introduced in both Germany and Scandinavia who have reportedly seen recycling rates increase to an impressive 95 per cent.

Most supermarkets in Germany have ‘reverse’ vending machines that print receipts for items which can be exchanged for cash or used towards another purchase. Greenpeace state there is also evidence in America that the number of bottles found on beaches fell by up to 70 per cent in areas following the introduction of a deposit scheme.

The big question is whether people in this country would agree to such a scheme? Would you?

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