Yesterday Anne Main hosted a plastics event on the Terrace of the Palace of Westminster. CEO of Coalition for Global Prosperity, Theo Clarke, Anne Main MP, David Attenborough and the Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP were key speakers at this standing room only event.
Anne exclaimed how pleased she was to see so many people in the audience, from scientists, tech entrepreneurs and business leaders, Members from across the House and Sky Ocean Plastic team. As Chair for the APPG for the Prevention of Plastic Waste Anne gave the opening remarks to the crowd and spoke passionately about the need to tackle this global problem.
Mrs Main praised ‘all the work so many companies do as they try their best to eliminate plastic waste’ and ‘We, as a Parliament need to drive forward our fractured recycling systems in the UK.
Alongside the key speakers, the packed audience heard from the panel Chaired by Theo Clarke, with Roger Wright from Marks and Spencer, Jo Ruxton, the co-founder of Plastic Oceans UK and Mary Creagh MP, Chair, Environmental Audit Committee and Professor Richard Thompson OBE, University of Plymouth.
The St Albans MP avidly explained that ‘the more we prevent and reuse plastic in our everyday lives, the more we need a comprehensive policy that addresses this ever-increasing issue in the UK’.
Penny Mordaunt, the International Development Secretary made three key announcements during her speech at the event. DFID will be doubling UK aid support for plastic recycling in developing countries and advocated for solutions to tackle the growing plastic waste from our planet’s oceans and rivers.
Mrs Main who is also Chair of the APPG for Bangladesh, recently hosted Bangladesh’s High Commissioner where they discussed the many strains that the Country is currently facing. Anne exclaimed how ‘not only is Bangladesh host to a million people who have been pushed out from the Rakhine Province, they are having to cope with extreme levels of litter and rubbish. This is a huge challenge for a country that is desperately trying to bring up the living standards of its own people and I truly do believe they are worthy of international aid.’
‘We have been exporting our rubbish to these areas for years and these areas have absolutely zero chance having any impact on their own recycling because they don’t have any facilities.’
Mrs Main was delighted to hear that the Ms Mordaunt will be continuing to use the UK aid’s budget to address plastic pollution. The International Development Secretary also announced that her Department will increase its UK aid to support pilot schemes that improve plastic recycling in some of the world’s poorest countries, including Ghana and Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh project is working with the country’s industry to increase the quality and volume of plastic recycling, particularly in garment manufacturing. The estimated total demand for plastic resin in Bangladesh is around 540,000 tonnes per year, yet only 10 per cent is made up of recycled resins.
Penny Mordaunt spoke with passion on how ‘plastic pollution is one of the biggest threats to our oceans. The UN estimates that there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050, unless we act to reduce our use and improve how waste is managed, particularly in poorer countries.’
‘That’s why I am doubling UK aid’s support to projects in developing countries to increase plastic recycling. This will create jobs and reduce the harmful impact of plastic waste in our oceans. Cleaning up our environment is a win for us all.’
This new funding will help find ways of collecting and recycling more plastic waste to avoid it ending up in our oceans.
Sir David Attenborough made a poignant speech and spoke of ‘the hideous consequences of plastics to both humanity and to life in the seas, upon which we depend’ and exclaimed that of our ‘shame in the amount of plastics the UK produces.’
During the event, Ms Mordaunt also announced she is co-hosting a meeting with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the World Economic Forum’s Global Plastics Action Partnership, major brands, waste management companies and investors to start a conversation about how the global plastic supply chain can be made more sustainable.
The St Albans MP made tribute to Sir David Attenborough in her speech as ‘he has inspired hundreds and thousands of young people with his wonderful documentaries, Blue Planet I and II.’ Anne express her concern ‘about our children, the next generation who will be the ones left to figure out where the country’s plastic waste will end up’.
Anne said after the event that she was ‘delighted to hear our speakers today to tell us what we can do to save other countries from the dreadful impact we have made over the years and how we can help as industries with consumer care.’
Mrs Main added that ‘this isn’t just for lent, this is consumers saying we don’t wish to have this done in our name and we do not want so much rubbish polluting our environment and inflicting it onto others.’