“If parliament realizes people are thinking passionately about plastic not being exported, then Boris Johnson might ban it quicker.”
A petition calling on the UK government to stop exporting plastic waste to poorer countries has exceeded 80,000 signatures.
The petition has been created by nine-year-old Lizzie A, who has been studying plastic pollution in school at the moment.
According to Lizzie, who wants to be a marine biologist or ecologist in the future, Britain’s sending its unsorted plastic waste to poorer nations is “unfair” and wrong.
She decided to start petition after reading a piece from the Guardian’s Seascape series, which reveals that UK will continue to ship plastic waste to other countries despite an EU ban on this waste management practice.
“At school, we’ve learned about how plastic damages the environment and what happens to it over many years. It breaks down into microplastics and they harm marine life,” Lizzie said.
“I’m passionate about the ocean and I was upset at how plastic ends up in the ocean because of the exports.”
‘A planet to look after together’
Lizzie in her petition writes: “The plastic that is exported often ends up in the ocean damaging and polluting the ecosystems of our planet.
“It is also burnt or ends up as landfill waste. We should be looking into sustainable alternatives to single plastic use in the U.K. and working on our own recycling capabilities.
“It is not okay that this is the way we behave, asking poorer countries to take our waste. We have a planet to look after together.”
7,133 metric tonnes exported
Britain is said to export about two-thirds of its plastic waste. In 2020, it shipped 7,133 metric tonnes of waste to countries including Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia.
This practice is likely to continue under ‘new regulations’ despite a Tory party manifesto promising to stop the shipment of unsorted plastic waste to non-OECD countries.
“I was stunned about how Boris Johnson made a promise, and he hasn’t done what he said,” Lizzie exclaimed.
“We’re really lazy in not dealing with our own plastic ourselves. It’s a large amount of plastic. It’s 300 tonnes of plastic every day.
“When we send it to communities that can’t deal with it, they burn it, and a lot of the smoke gets in the air, and that can harm people.”
The nine-year-old is also reaching out to her MP (Member of Parliament), Simon Jupp, to ask his support in urging the government to act faster in order to honour its election promise.
Lizzie is continuously monitoring the progress of her petition and is glad to see the number the people willing to support her cause.
Her original attempt to register her petition on the UK parliament website, where the receipt of more than 10,000 signatories calls for an immediate government response, was rejected because of an existing petition similar to hers already on the site.
“If parliament realizes people are thinking passionately about plastic not being exported, then Boris Johnson might ban it quicker,” Lizzie said.
You can sign the petition here.
Share this story: More than 80,000 sign nine-year-old Brit’s petition against plastic pollution.
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