Plastic items are in the category of non-biodegradable substances. Over the years, these have become indispensable in our everyday lives. Most of these are single-use items, discarded when done with. They clutter the environment and remain as eyesore for ages. Plastic carry bags clog the drainage systems and endanger the lives of animals and birds. England plans to ban single-use plastic cutlery items.

The British government wants to obtain the views of the public on the proposal. Based on the feedback, the authorities would crack down harder on all types of such waste and litter.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) provides some statistics that highlight the magnitude of the problem. It seems the figures run into billions in England. Discarded plastic items can last for centuries in landfill. They are convenient for use during travel when one is in a hurry but end up creating litter that kills. Millions of birds, sea mammals and turtles die all over the world every year because of plastic pollution. The feathered friends and marine creatures ingest these wastes or are entangled and trapped in them and lose their lives. In May 2018, a news report said the European Union would ban single-use plastic to save the environment.

Some action taken to remove plastic from circulation

England has already initiated some action to curb the menace.

These include ban on microbeads in 2018 followed by ban on a certain range of single-use products in 2020. Then came a nominal charge levied on carry bags in shops. The intention was to reduce their demand. DEFRA explains that the latest plans of the government are to put an end to all avoidable waste of this nature by the end of 2042.

Independent UK quotes Environment secretary George Eustice saying: “We’ve all seen the damage that plastic does to our environment.” He points out that these substances threaten the environment. They integrate into micro plastic and these enter the food chain. Moreover, discarded plastic items wash up on the beaches in huge quantities.

Their origin could be local or from far-off places and brought in by the sea waves. The government wants to put its foot down on the unnecessary use of plastic.

Less amount of single-use plastic will benefit the world’s wildlife

Jo Morley is head of campaigns at City to Sea. This is a charity associated with the environment. She welcomes the move of the government. In her words: “This is a much-needed move that we as campaigners have been calling for, along with thousands of our supporters and members of the public.” Independent UK adds that last month member states of the European Union imposed ban on a wide range of single-use plastic items. Several campaign groups urged the government to ensure that Brexit would not affect environmental standards.

Government ministers assured that high environmental standards would continue to remain post-Brexit. They also said Britain could become a world leader in green issues.

Plastic lasts for centuries in landfill, the countryside, or the ocean

The world of today is fast paced. Everyone is running against time to meet deadlines and has to rely on packed food and bottled drinks. Those are probably the reasons for plastic to have come center stage and become an integral part of our lives. Unfortunately, it has turned out to be a hard pill to swallow and the world is trying to find a remedy.