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Dear Reader,

This week UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said recycling plastic materials is not the answer to tackling the plastic crisis, and that we should try and reduce our use of it instead. The Prime Minister made the comments when answering children’s questions ahead of the COP26 climate change summit.

Meanwhile, a major new study found plastic pollution in the air can make allergies and diabetes worse. Professor Pieters, from the University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht, presented his findings at the Plastic Health Summit in Amsterdam.

In other news, a new report released by the UN Environment Programme warned plastic pollution in oceans and other bodies of water continues to grow sharply and could more than double by 2030.

As always, we hope you enjoy reading.

John Higginson
Editor-in-Chief
Plastic Free Post

Recycling plastics does not work, says Boris Johnson

Recycling plastic materials ‘doesn’t work’ and ‘is not the answer’ to threats to global oceans and marine wildlife, Boris Johnson has said. Answering children’s questions ahead of the COP26 climate change summit, the Prime Minister said reusing plastics ‘doesn’t begin to address the problem’. Instead, he said, ‘we’ve all got to cut down our use of plastic’. Responding to the Prime Minister’s comments, Sian Sutherland, A Plastic Planet co-founder, said: ‘We have been swallowing the myth about recycling plastic for decades and it is time to wake up to the fact there are no recycling fairies.’

Read more here.

Plastic pollution in the air can make allergies worse, major study finds

Plastic pollution not only poisons oceans and food chains, it can also exacerbate allergies, arthritis, diabetes and COPD by causing inflammation, a major study has found. In the first part of a landmark £5 million trial, experiments on human tissue in the lab found that adding minuscule plastic particles led to inflammation, fuelling concerns about their impact on human health. Professor Pieters, from the University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht, presented his findings at the Plastic Health Summit in Amsterdam. The research has raised concerns among campaigners and health experts, with Maria Westerbos, director of the Plastic Soup Foundation, saying: ‘Our bodies are simply not equipped to break down these particles, so the question is how much damage are they causing?’

Read more here.

Plastic pollution on course to double by 2030

Plastic pollution in oceans and other bodies of water continues to grow sharply and could more than double by 2030, according to an assessment released by the UN Environment Programme. The report highlights dire consequences for health, the economy, biodiversity and the climate. It also says a drastic reduction in unnecessary, avoidable and problematic plastic, is crucial to addressing the global pollution crisis overall.  To help reduce plastic waste at the needed scale, it proposes an accelerated transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies, the removal of subsidies and a shift towards more circular approaches towards reduction. 

Read more here.

Plastic will create more pollution in US than coal by 2030, study says

By the end of the decade, the contribution of the United States’ plastics industry to climate change will exceed that of coal-fired power, says a study. A report from Bennington College’s Beyond Plastics think tank says that the US plastics industry is currently responsible for at least 232 million tons of CO2e gas emissions per year – the equivalent to those of 116 average-sized coal-fired power plants. While roughly 65 percent of the country’s coal-fired plants closed over the past decade, the US plastics industry has grown at such a rate, it threatens to offset any benefits that might have resulted.

Read more here.

African ruler meets plastic free ocean leaders in Exeter

An African ruler has met climate and business leaders to discuss the plastic free ocean movement. Her Royal Highness Queen Diambi Kabatusuila from the Democratic Republic of Congo joined the meeting at the University of Exeter. She hopes to launch a collaborative project to work on cleaning up oceans and rivers around the world. She met with university researchers, business leaders and climate community groups at the university, where more than 600 people work within climate science. After hearing that the South West is a region ‘concerned’ with plastic pollution issues she decided to travel to meet ‘the people who have the most mastery on the issue’.

Read more here.

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