Majority of the UK public wants to see plastic phased out says pol

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 7 March 2018

An overwhelming majority of the UK public wants to see plastic phased out except for essential uses, according to a survey of over 1000 people carried out by Cultural Dynamics Strategy and Marketing.

Beluga Greenpeace
© Will Rose / Greenpeace

This poll confirms that the UK public is leaving government and industry behind when it comes to plastics and is on board with our clear message to #STOPtheplastictide.

Dr Sue Kinsey,
MCS Senior Pollution Policy Officer

83.9% of those questioned agreed that ‘Because of the pollution/harm it causes, plastic should be phased out except for essential uses.’ Campaignstrategy.org who commissioned the plastics poll said the results showed that the public is way ahead of the UK Government which has so far only proposed ‘workign to a target of eliminating avoidable plastic waster by the end of 2042’

Dr Sue Kinsey, MCS Senior Pollution Policy Officer, says:”MCS and fellow NGOs have been saying for some time that the current use of plastic is unsustainable and simply cannot go on. This poll confirms that the UK public is leaving government and industry behind when it comes to plastics and is on board with our clear message to #STOPtheplastictide.”

The findings come as Greenpeace revealed that during a scientific voyage it undertook last year around the Scottish coast, microplastics were found in some of Scotland’s most remote waters, threatening seabirds and fish stocks.

Last May MCS had joined the Greenpeace Beluga II mission to carry out a beach clean and survey on the Isle of Mull where they collected over 30Kg of rubbish, made up of a mixture of rope, bottles, caps and other plastic items.

MCS trained Greenpeace scientists and volunteers in our Beachwatch methodology and 39 beach litter surveys were completed, mostly on beaches that had never been surveyed before.

At the launch event of the Greenpeace data in Edinburgh last night, MCS Scotland Conservation Officer, Catherine Gemmell, spoke of the importance of using data to inspire people to take action. She was joined by MSP Kate Forbes who launched a campaign to ban plastic straws at the end of last year. She spoke about the need to consider those who might be genuinely affected by a ban and the importance of working with disability groups to find pragmatic solutions.

During the Beluga II expedition Greenpeace Scientists collected samples in Scottish coastal waters last year, with a focus on the Hebrides in areas known to be important feeding grounds for basking sharks and seabirds such as gannets, puffins, razorbills and shearwaters.

A total of 49 samples were taken from waters around islands including Rum, Mull and Tiree as well as Loch Alsh, Loch Linnie, Loch Ness and the Firth of Forth.

They were then analysed at Greenpeace’s laboratory in the University of Exeter, where it was found 31 samples contained microplastics.

Greenpeace said the Beluga ship expedition gathered more data on plastic pollution in Scottish waters than any previously published survey.

Greenpeace said the problem is not as bad as some other regions of the world but criticised a lack of planning to address the issue.

The charity’s oceans campaigner Tisha Brown said: “Although microplastics were found in two out of three samples, this isn’t all bad news.

“The concentrations are lower than in many other regions of the world’s oceans and hopefully Scottish marine life is at a proportionately lower risk than marine life in those areas.

“However, the results varied significantly in unpredictable ways and so we would need longer-term testing to be confident of average concentrations.

“The key finding here is that microplastics are present in some of Scotland’s most remote and unspoilt waters.

Actions you can take

  1. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2018
  2. Help us stop the plastic tide

Did you know?…

Plastic has been found in the stomachs of almost all marine species including fish, birds, whales, dolphins, seals and turtles

Over time, one plastic bottle bobbing along in the ocean can break down in to hundreds of tiny plastic pieces

Since the carrier bag charge came in across the UK, the Great British Beach Clean has recorded 40% fewer bags on beaches