Plastics Campaign latest: Stroud Valley School visit and tackling microfibres
I continue to be inspire by the many people working to reduce plastic use and raise awareness.
I enjoyed a visit to Stroud Valley School, where the students have been campaigning to reduce disposable plastic use. After they wrote to me to ask how I could support their campaign and I visited the Emerald Class (Y6) last week to share ideas and talk about how I could help.
We spent an hour discussing questions about the issue of plastic pollution. The children asked me what I was doing both personally and in politics to reduce the use of plastic, in particular single-use plastic. I pledged to work towards making my own office free of disposable plastic. We also looked around the classroom at how much we use plastic in everyday life and what we could do to reduce it.
Last week, I also attended an event in parliament for the End Plastic Soup campaign organised by the Women’s Institutes (WI) to raise awareness of the impact of microplastic fibres.
These are tiny strands of plastic shed from synthetic clothing when its washed and end up in the sea and wider environment. Due to their size the fibres can be ingested by marine life end up in the food we eat.
Members of the WI had made a plastic reef to highlight the threat plastic poses to marine life and their campaign to #EndPlasticSoup calls for the development of solutions to microplastic fibres from industry and government. Watch and share their video highlighting microplastic fibre pollution and the small steps you can take to help!
You can make a difference by altering your clothes purchasing and washing habits.
I met NFWI Vice-Chair Ann Jones at the event and was inspired by their campaign.
"The NFWI was delighted to see so many MPs from across the political spectrum attend our End Plastic Soup drop-in session on microplastic fibre pollution," she said.
"It’s important that politicians are aware of the problem and play their part in find potential solutions.
"The End Plastic Soup campaign calls for in-depth research and innovative solutions to be developed from the Government and industry to stop the contamination of microplastic fibres in our oceans. Microplastic fibres are small strands of plastic that can come loose from clothing in the washing cycle - as they are too small to be caught by washing machine filters and the sewage system, they end up in the sea and wider environment."
The WI is concerned with the potential health impact microplastic fibres pose to marine life and humans. In addition, the WI is concerned with the sheer volume of clothing that is produced and purchased every day.
Microplastic fibres are shed when you wash synthetic clothing – half a million tonnes every year contribute to ocean pollution, that’s 16X more than microbeads from cosmetics[i]. @womensinstitute campaign to #EndPlasticSoup calls for solutions to the issue from industry and govt.