Earlier this month, WDC and BRITA UK asked you to help us in our mission to tackle plastic pollution and keep the seas healthy for whales, dolphins and porpoises by telling the UK Government that action urgently needs to be taken to reduce single use plastic and so reduce plastic pollution in the ocean.
Your response was fantastic – nearly 3,500 of you emailed the UK Government asking for a levy on single use plastics, like drinks bottles, coffee cups, cutlery, straws and food packaging, which are often only used for a few minutes but never biodegrade. They can then pollute the oceans for generations, continuing to pose a serious risk to the lives of whales, dolphins and other marine wildlife.
At least 56% of all whale and dolphin species have been observed eating plastic waste that they have mistaken for food. Only this week it was announced that most of the endangered sperm whales that have been found dead in the eastern Mediterranean since 2001 were killed by plastic debris.
We know that taxation can be an effective tool in changing behaviour both for consumers and businesses. Just a year after the 5p plastic bag charges were introduced, sales of single use carrier bags were down 85% – a fantastic step towards protecting marine wildlife.
The consultation asked the public to consider extending that plastic bag charge to other plastic items, and it gave us a real opportunity to make our voices heard on this vital issue. We would like to thank each and every one of you who responded.
Sarah Taylor, Managing Director of WDC partner, BRITA UK, said: ‘It is fantastic to see so many people add their voice on this important issue, and it is welcome that the Government has committed to eliminating avoidable plastic waste. Research shows that up to 12.8m tonnes of plastic leaks into our seas every year thanks to litter from single-use plastic water bottles and other sources. This is unacceptable, poses hazards to the marine environment, and has unknown consequences for human wellbeing. We also believe it does not have to be the case. Although there is no simple solution, all of us can play a part in tackling single-use plastic waste in order to protect marine life and keep our streets clean from litter. There are many small swaps we can all make that would have a huge impact.”
For more information on plastic pollution and inspiring ideas to help reduce your plastic use, visit www.notwhalefood.com or search for #NotWhaleFood on social media.