A petition from over 300,000 people calling for tougher government action on plastic pollution will be handed in to 10 Downing Street today (26 Feb), by Friends of the Earth and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI).
The petition, which calls on ministers to introduce a plan to phase out non-essential single-use plastic, coincides with the second reading of the government’s flagship Environment Bill, when MPs will debate its contents for the first time.
Friends of the Earth and the NFWI are urging the government to “strengthen” the Environment Bill by setting binding and timetabled targets to stem the flow of plastic pollution, and phase out all unnecessary single-use plastics.
They are also calling for government to ensure that existing environmental laws “can’t be weakened” in the future.
They also want government to strengthen the planned environment watchdog, the Office for Environmental Protection, by ensuring it is “independent, properly funded, and able to issue legally robust sanctions”.
Bans on plastic straws and stirrers are certainly welcome – but these items are dwarfed by the waves of plastic pollution pouring into our environment
Friends of the Earth’s acting chief executive Miriam Turner, who will be handing in the petition, said: “The government’s flagship environment bill must be strengthened to confront the plastic pollution crisis.
“Bans on plastic straws and stirrers are certainly welcome – but these items are dwarfed by the waves of plastic pollution pouring into our environment.
“Ministers must commit to ending plastic pollution and a phase-out of all unnecessary single-use plastic – with legally-enforceable targets and timetables for achieving these.”
The Friends of the Earth online petition which called on the government to act on plastic, has been signed by over 300,000 people. It calls for the government to introduce a plan now that:
The petition will be handed in to 10 Downing street at 3.45pm today (26 Feb).
Lynne Stubbings, Chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) said:
“WI members are clear that we need urgent action to stem the tide of plastic waste and end this pollution crisis.
“We are proud to be working alongside Friends of the Earth to strengthen the Environment Bill and ensure that the UK has clear and binding targets to reduce our dependence on plastic.
“We need a robust plan to tackle all forms of plastic waste, particularly ‘hidden’ forms of pollution like the tiny plastic fibres released from clothing when it is washed, so that we can stop plastic waste choking our oceans and wildlife.”