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This week, around 140,000 people have pledged to count how much plastic they throw away as part of the “Big Plastic Count”. This includes dozens of MPs, the environmentalist Chris Packham, and actress Bonnie Wright.

Chris Packham, presenter of Springwatch, says “Our broken recycling system doesn’t work, so instead of dealing with our plastic ourselves we send vast quantities of it overseas where it’s out of sight and out of mind for us, but destroying nature and harming people everywhere”.

Greenpeace UK and Everyday Plastic have created the “Big Plastic Count” to record vital data needed to fill a “crucial evidence gap” and encourage the government to take stringent action to address the plastic crisis.

Campaigners hope that with the right evidence, this will encourage a reduction of single-use plastic by 50% by 2025.

Higginson’s View

We hope that the “Big Plastic Count” will trigger an immediate reaction from the government to enforce restrictions on single-use plastic, but we fear that it may disappear in a sea of voices.

Decision-makers are already very aware of the severity of the plastic crisis. Reports continually express the widespread harmful impact plastic waste has, with recent research finding toxic microplastics everywhere from Arctic snow, to human blood.

The government knows we must cut the production of plastic to tackle this problem. It is not ignorance that is stopping them. Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself said that recycling plastic “is not the answer” when discussing solutions to this crisis.

But that does not mean we should stop pushing for change, and it is promising to see such widespread support for the “Big Plastic Count”, demonstrating how the public is aware that action is needed to tackle the plastic crisis.

This week, two members of our team, Rebecca and Isabel, have joined the count.

Isabel says “It’s really frustrating to know exactly how much plastic I throw away every day, knowing that the majority of it will end up in landfill. When we have the technology to create plastic alternatives, it doesn’t make sense why decision-makers won’t enforce harsher anti-plastic laws.”

We hope that even if the “Big Plastic Count” does not create the immediate legal change it hopes for, it will ignite more of the public to take a stance against plastic waste.

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