PLASTIC: We can help to stop the mess

I am writing on behalf of the Berwick-upon-Tweed consistency Green Party about plastic pollution.

Thursday, 4th April 2019, 06:59 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd April 2019, 15:14 pm

In recent times this has been highlighted through the media and, in particular, David Attenborough and the BBC’s Blue Planet.

The Berwick Young Greens went on a walk on Monday, March 25, leaving Tweedmouth, going over the bridge, along the riverside, through the plantation and over the A1 bridge to highlight how bad litter is.

Plastic pollution was most prominent near the A1 where, sadly, we think it is due to people throwing litter out of car windows. While this blights the area around us, a concern is that people who drive over the A1 bridge may throw litter and it will end up in the Tweed. Ultimately, this litter will end up in the sea.

I recently attended a Friends of the Earth event by the Alnwick group, watching a plastic planet, and it showed the effects that plastic has on the planet, not just to the environment, but to human health and animal health.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

As plastic does not break down compared to other materials, it stays in the environment for hundreds of years.

Post-mortems on aquatic sea birds show that plastic is killing them due to them swallowing it. Post-mortems of whales have also shown them to have consumed a large amount of plastic.

Toxic chemicals have been shown to leach out into the local environment. This can cause cancers, birth defects and endocrine disruption. Men in the USA have been shown to have high oestrogen levels.

While Northumberland County Council desperately needs to improve its recycling facilities, we also need to reduce the amount of plastic in our environment.

If you look in any supermarket you will notice the amount of plastic used to wrap up food. This has to stop.

I believe there are ways and means in which this could be achieved, for example we could write to large national supermarket and retail companies telling them to reduce their use of plastic.

Campaign to your local county councillor to put better recycling on the agenda. Northumberland County Council is lacking in this respect as we could do so much more, like recycle food waste, glass bottles and shredded paper. Our recycling system is well behind other councils in the UK.

Kerbside recycling will make it easier for elderly and less able people to recycle.

Also take part in picking up litter and putting it in the bin. This will mean that it will not end up in the environment, ready to destroy the habitat.

It’s great to see local Eyemouth group Sea the Change having an effect in the local area. It is organising a litter-pick on Sunday, April 7, from 10.30am, meeting at the Lookout Café, called Clean the Tweed. It would be nice to see you there.

On Wednesday, April 10, there is a beach clean at Spittal, at 1pm. It would also be nice to see people there.

If we all do our bit then we could stop this mess.

Peter Guthrie

Cornhill-upon-Tweed