Campaigners to launch ‘visual survey’ on plastic for pollution awareness day

Environmental campaigners are aiming to involve one billion people worldwide in a “visual survey” of plastic pollution as part of the second annual One Plastic Free Day.

Set to coincide with World Environment Day on June 5, campaign group A Plastic Planet is asking people to photograph a plastic item they wish to switch to an environmentally friendly item, and post it on social media using the hashtag #OnePlasticFreeDay.

Following the survey on June 5, the results will form the basis of an interactive world map where global plastic pollution hot-spots can be identified.

The campaign comes as the Government announced that plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds are to be banned from April 2020 in a bid to reduce plastic pollution.

Plastic pollution
A poster for the #OnePlasticFreeDay campaign (Jacob Metcalf/One Plastic Free Day/Higginson Strategy)

In 2018, a quarter of a billion people joined in on what was the first annual One Plastic Free Day.

A Plastic Planet co-founder Sian Sutherland said: “So far there have been too many words and not enough action.

“I’m incredibly excited about the prospect of mobilising one billion people for the brighter plastic-free future we all know is possible.”

To mark the campaign, the One Plastic Free Day logo will be projected at tourist sights including Times Square in New York.

  • It is estimated that 4.7 billion plastic straws are used each year in England
  • An estimated one million plastic bottles are bought every minute around the world
  • It is estimated there are more than 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world's oceans
  • Since the Government's introduction of a 5p charge on single use plastic bags, distribution by major supermarkets has dropped by 86%

Speaking about the Government’s move to ban plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Urgent and decisive action is needed to tackle plastic pollution and protect our environment.

“Today I am taking action to turn the tide on plastic pollution, and ensure we leave our environment in a better state for future generations.”

Extinction Rebellion protesters
Extinction Rebellion protesters in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

A Plastic Planet’s campaign comes after months of campaigning for action on pollution and plastic waste by environmental activists.

In April 2019, climate group Extinction Rebellion occupied four prominent sites in central London over a period of 11 days in order to provoke Government action on climate change.

Plastic pollution
The campaign asks people to use social media to post a picture of something they want to go plastic free (Jacob Metcalf/One Plastic Free Day/Higginson Strategy)

Since then, the UK Parliament has become the first in the world to recognise a “climate change emergency”.

“We don’t want to be part of the plastic pollution problem any longer. Every time we shop we feel guilty. Why is it taking so long for change to happen?” Ms Sutherland said.

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