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Cornish charity takes petition to Parliament

sas petition - bottle deposit system
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2:42pm 13th September 2017
(Updated 2:42pm 13th September 2017)

Photo: Philippa Velhinho

A Cornish charity is taking a petition to Parliament calling for a bottle deposit return system.

St Agnes based Surfers Against Sewage is presenting more than a quarter of a million signatures to the Prime Minister.

Supporting the event, the Marine Conservation Society has also released a new poll showing 73% of the British public support the introduction of a deposit return system across the UK for single-use drinks bottles and cans.

The charity says the petition and poll clearly demonstrate that the UK public overwhelmingly supports introducing a deposit return system to stem the tide of ocean plastic pollution.

It is warning that harmful impacts from plastic pollution can continue to damage the oceans for hundreds of years.

A third of fish currently caught in the UK have plastics in their guts and the average UK seafood eater consumes 11,000 plastic particles annually.

The charity says strong and effective action to protect our oceans from plastic pollution is urgently needed and the introduction of a deposit return system would prevent an estimated four million plastic bottles from entering the oceans every week in the UK.

The Surfers Against Sewage petition, hosted on the 38 Degrees website, quickly captured the attention of the public with 150,000 signatures collected in the first month.

Now, with more than 250,000 signatures, it is the largest deposit return system petition to be submitted to the Government.

There is growing cross-party support with the Protect Our Waves All Party Parliamentary Group members championing deposit returns and challenging the government to adopt this system as soon as possible.

The You.Gov poll, commissioned by the MCS, shows that almost three out of four people would either support or strongly support the introduction of a refundable deposit on single-use drinks containers with only 6% against and 3% strongly against.

The events come on the back of the announcement last week that Scotland will develop a deposit return scheme.

The First Minister for Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, confirmed the commitment while unveiling her new programme for government, which sets out how the country will be run for the next 12 months.

Hugo Tagholm, Chief Executive of Surfers Against Sewage says: "We're delighted to see the overwhelming public support for the introduction of a deposit return system to tackle ocean plastic pollution. Society's plastic addiction has reached crisis point and we need to fast-track proven and effective systems including deposit returns to protect our oceans and beaches from the scourge of plastic pollution."

"Surfers Against Sewage is today proud to deliver the voice of quarter of a million supporters to urge the government to follow Scotland's lead and commit to introducing a comprehensive plastic bottle deposit return system."

Steve Double MP, Newquay and St Austell: "As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group Protect Our Waves I am delighted to join Surfers Against Sewage to hand in the Message in a Bottle Petition to Downing Street today."

"It is great to see such vast public support for the campaign to introduce a plastic bottle deposit return scheme, which I hope will fuel the growing support from within the Government."

"With government, the drinks industry and environmental campaign groups all agreeing that a return scheme is one of the best ways of reducing the amount of plastic polluting our seas I see no reason why this will not now happen."

Sandy Luk, Marine Conservation Society says: "Our recent YouGov poll demonstrates just how strong public support is for a Deposit Return system. The MCS annual survey shows that drinks related litter make up 10% of the refuse found at the coast, indicating the scale of the problem. Deposit return system has been shown to be simple and effective in reducing litter."

38 Degrees: "This huge petition proves that British people want to see an end to plastic bottles clogging up our oceans and littering our beaches. The Scottish government's decision to bring back bottle deposits proves it is possible to turn the tide on plastic pollution. Now almost a quarter of a million people are calling on Westminster to follow suit."

2:42pm 13th September 2017

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