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300,000 demand government action on plastic pollution, as MPs debate Environment Bill

news release
26th Feb 2020

•  Friends of the Earth and WI to hand in petition to Downing Street 

 *** photos available after petition hand-in on Wednesday 

A petition from over 300,000 people calling for tougher government action on plastic pollution will be handed in to 10 Downing Street on Wednesday (26 February), by Friends of the Earth and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI).
 
The petition, which calls on ministers to introduce a plan to phase out non-essential single-use plastic, coincides with the second reading of the government’s flagship Environment Bill, when MPs will debate its contents for the first time. 
 
Friends of the Earth and the NFWI are urging the government to strengthen the Environment Bill by: 
 
• Setting binding and timetabled targets to stem the flow of plastic pollution, and phase out all unnecessary single-use plastics.
• Ensuring that existing environmental laws can’t be weakened in the future.
• Strengthening the planned environment watchdog by ensuring it is independent, properly funded, and able to issue legally robust sanctions.
 
Friends of the Earth’s acting chief executive Miriam Turner, who will be handing in the petition, said
 
“The government’s flagship environment bill must be strengthened to confront the plastic pollution crisis.
 
“Bans on plastic straws and stirrers are certainly welcome – but these items are dwarfed by the waves of plastic pollution pouring into our environment. 
 
“Ministers must commit to ending plastic pollution and a phase-out of all unnecessary single-use plastic – with legally-enforceable targets and timetables for achieving these.”
 
Lynne Stubbings, Chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) said

“WI members are clear that we need urgent action to stem the tide of plastic waste and end this pollution crisis. 

“We are proud to be working alongside Friends of the Earth to strengthen the Environment Bill and ensure that the UK has clear and binding targets to reduce our dependence on plastic. We need a robust plan to tackle all forms of plastic waste, particularly ‘hidden’ forms of pollution like the tiny plastic fibres released from clothing when it is washed, so that we can stop plastic waste choking our oceans and wildlife. 
Ends
 
For more information contact the Friends of the Earth press office on 020 7566 1649 / 07718 394786 (out of hours – please do not text this number) media@foe.co.uk.
 
Notes:

1. A Friends of the Earth online petition calling on the government to act on plastic has been signed by over 300,000 people. It calls for the government to introduce a plan now that:
• starts with phasing out non-essential single-use plastics now
• commits to tackling trickier plastics, like in clothes and car tyres, as soon as possible
• maintains quality of life for people who need plastic, and doesn’t cause worse environmental problems. 
2. The petition will be handed in to 10 Downing street at 3.45pm on Wednesday. Photos are available on request
3. Friends of the Earth briefing on the Environment Bill.
4. Friends of the Earth is an international community dedicated to the protection of the natural world and the wellbeing of everyone in it. We bring together more than two million people in 75 countries, combining people power all over the world to transform local actions into global impact. For more information visit: friendsoftheearth.uk follow us at @friends_earth, or like our Facebook page

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