Our oceans are becoming a plastic soup

Plastic waste floating on the surface of water. Plastic like this is wreaking havoc on the environment

The average seafood consumer eats around 11,000 plastic particles a year. Plastic pollution in our oceans is having a devastating effect – and we need to act now to solve it.

By Alistair Carmichael, Jan 31, 2018 4:01

The world’s oceans are slowly turning into a plastic soup.

Unless we take action, plastic waste will continue to pollute our oceans with devastating effect.

We have all heard the reports of seabirds strangled by 6-pack rings and whales washing up with guts full of plastic, but did you know the average seafood consumers eats around 11,000 plastic particles a year?

Prawns with polystyrene anyone?

The time has come to tackle marine litter head-on with a campaign to Save our Seas.

Liberal Democrats have been a trailblazer in tackling plastic waste. Our plastic bag charge reduced usage by 85% in the first year and our recent disposable coffee cups campaign has led to a “latte levy” being proposed by a group of influential cross-party MPs. Now we are calling for the government to commit to a Plastic-Free Charter.

We need to tackle our throw-away culture by providing incentives to reduce, reuse and recycle.

This includes a plastic bottle return scheme, plastic-free aisles in supermarkets and a network of drinking fountains.

Tackling plastic pollution will require us to work closely with local businesses to find non-plastic alternatives, it will take research and investment, but most of all it will take a willingness to change.

The launch of the Government’s long-awaited 25-year plan was somewhat underwhelming.

Theresa May’s vow to eliminate all “avoidable” plastic waste by 2042 does little to inspire a sense of urgency, particularly given that by 2042 plastic will almost outweigh the fish in our oceans.

While many admirable sentiments are made in the 25-year plan, it avoids many necessary actions to tackle marine litter. One solution, conspicuously missing, is a bottle deposit scheme.

Similar initiatives have been tried and tested across the world, so what are the government waiting for?

Ultimately, the campaign to Save our Seas starts at home.

Each of us can make simple changes to move towards plastic-free living, from carrying a refillable bottle, to saying “no” to plastic straws.

If you don’t think you use many plastic products on a daily basis, I highly recommend visiting Greenpeace UK’s website to calculate your Plastic Footprint.

The results are shocking!

To make a wider impact in your community, why not encourage a local business to rethink their plastic usage or get involved with a beach clean to make a visible impact?

Together we can turn the tide on plastic waste.