CAMPAIGNERS Surfers Against Sewage have called on the UK government to follow Scotland’s lead and introduce a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.
They presented a 38 Degrees petition a quarter of a million names strong to the Prime Minister Theresa May with the backing of a cross-party delegation of MPs and leading charities.
The idea is to help reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in seas and countryside.
Research suggests as much as a third of fish currently caught in the UK have plastics in their guts as a result of an estimated four millions bottles a year ending up sea bound.
The Surfers Against Sewage petition, hosted on the 38 Degrees is the largest deposit return system petition to be submitted to the Government.
Hugo Tagholm, Chief Executive of Surfers Against Sewage said: “We’re delighted to see the overwhelming public support for the introduction of a deposit return system to tackle ocean plastic pollution.
This huge petition proves that British people want to see an end to plastic bottles clogging up our oceans and littering our beaches – 38 Degrees
“Society’s plastic addiction has reached crisis point and we need to fast-track proven and effective systems including deposit returns to protect our oceans and beaches
The petition was further boosted by a new Marine Conservation Society poll showing that 73 percent of people across the UK supported such a scheme for single-use drinks bottles and cans.
Sandy Luk, of the Marine Conservation Society said: “Our recent YouGov poll demonstrates just how strong public support is for a Deposit Return system.
“The MCS annual survey shows that drinks related litter make up 10% of the refuse found at the coast, indicating the scale of the problem.
“Deposit return system has been shown to be simple and effective in reducing litter.”
38 Degrees, who hosted the petition, said Scotland’s march towards a deposit return scheme added weight to the argument.
In a statement, they said: “This huge petition proves that British people want to see an end to plastic bottles clogging up our oceans and littering our beaches.
“The Scottish government’s decision to bring back bottle deposits proves it is possible to turn the tide on plastic pollution. Now almost a quarter of a million people are calling on Westminster to follow suit.”
Earlier this month, First Minister for Scotland Nicola Sturgeon announced plans for just such a scheme across Scotland as part of her plans for government.
Hailing Scotland’s move towards a deposit return scheme, the group said the time was right for it to be extended UK wide.
SAS Campaigns Director Andy Cummins says: “A deposit return system is a huge step forward in eliminating one of the largest sources of ocean plastic pollution whilst positioning Scotland as the leading country in the UK addressing recycling, enhancing communities and protecting our oceans.
“Deposit returns are a proven, effective and popular measure and we hope the rest of the UK follows Scotland’s example.”
- Want to learn more? Read: A Nation With Ambition – The Government’s Programme for Scotland 2017 – 2018
Image Credits: Surfers Against Sewage