Picking up plastic litter is a responsibility for us all

Between May 16 – 22, Greenpeace and Everyday Plastic are running the Big Plastic Count, and members of the Greenpeace South West London Group are taking part.

This will be the UK’s biggest ever investigation into household plastic waste, and what really happens to our recycling.

We need to take much faster action to clean up the plastic pollution, which spoils our parks, and harms our climate, nature and health.

This year, the Government is starting to decide on legal targets to reduce plastic waste. Greenpeace South West London volunteers want them to set a target to reduce single-use plastic by 50 per cent by 2025 and ban dumping our waste onto other countries.

Greenpeace South West London volunteers have been taking action on plastic pollution for years.

We have taken part in litter picks in Kennington Park and along Ravensbourne River and campaigned against pointless plastic outside of Sainsbury’s branches in Clapham and Balham.

As part of the campaign against pointless plastic, one of the local Greenpeace volunteers even collected together the plastic packaging that came with his food shop over the course of two months in order to demonstrate the packaging’s needless nature.

I live in Tooting and regularly go out picking up the litter that accumulates in the streets and parks.

A large percentage of the litter that I pick up is plastic – plastic food containers, plastic drinks bottles and plastic bags.

A recent litter pick in, and around, Wandsworth Common produced two full bin bags of waste that had either been blown out of bins or been carelessly dropped.

Of course, individuals should be strongly encouraged to dispose of their rubbish responsibly. However, the plastic waste problem is much bigger than a few individuals.

The UK produces more plastic waste per person than almost any other country in the world, only the USA is worse.

On top of this, plastic production is actually increasing – it’s set to double by 2040.

So, personal responsibility is important, but we need much broader action to reduce the amount of single-use plastic in the first place.

By taking part in The Big Plastic Count, we can all help to gather the proof we need to push the Government to get it right and set a target to reduce single-use plastic by 50 per cent by 2025, to implement an ‘all-in’ Deposit Return Scheme for plastics recycling, and put a ban on sending our waste to other countries.

I speak for all Greenpeace South West London volunteers, and lots of other residents in the area who are trying to do their bit, when I urge the Government, supermarkets and brands to do their bit to cut plastic too.

Schools, community groups, businesses, local residents – sign-up to join us here – thebigplasticcount.com/join-in

Matt George


Pictured: South West London Volunteers litter pick along Ravensbourne River

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