The UK government is about to announce a new set of measures aimed at reducing the amount of single-use plastics consumed and discarded in the country. “A call for evidence” on how taxes or other charges could reduce the actual impact of plastic trash on wildlife is to be announced by the chancellor Philip Hammond. While the prospect of a plastic tax is exciting, what is even more so is how this idea came about. Apparently, the idea was inspired by the popular BBC series Blue Planet II, which made the issue perhaps more talked-about than ever.
“Still haunted by last night’s – the imperative to do more to tackle plastic in our oceans is clear,” Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Gove tweeted about the last episode of Blue Planet II. “We will work urgently to identify further action.”
Announcing the proposition, the Treasury cited statistics proving that over a million birds and 10,000 sea mammals and turtles die every year because of plastic ingestion or getting entangled in plastic waste, the Guardian reports. Apart from the proposed tax, the environment department is also looking into cup deposit schemes that could reward people for recycling single-use items.
A tax on plastic would very likely result in a significant drop in the amount of the material consumed and discarded int the environment. Notably, the introduction of a five penny charge on single-use plastic bags over two years ago led to an 85 percent reduction in the use of the bags in just six months in the country.
Every year, we dump around 8.8 million tons of plastic into the oceans and around 700 marine species are threatened with extinction due to this material. Our plastic waste has made it as far as the Arctic Ocean and, in another way, as the majority of our tap water. Bringing public attention to this burning issue is an imperative – and the only way more and more people can learn about the scale of the problem and take action.
Even if you aren’t in the UK and there is no discussion of a plastic tax in your area, you can still make a massive impact by reducing the amount of plastics you use every day! For tips and tricks to cut plastic out of your life, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!
Image source: Hans/Pixabay