Chris Packham joins fight to end UK’s ’embarrassing’ plastic waste exports


Chris Packham, the naturalist and TV presenter, has accused the federal government of sending “shivers of fear” by Britain’s environmentalists by backtracking on inexperienced pledges since Brexit.

The wildlife professional accused the federal government of “irresponsible and embarrassing” practices on plastic waste, following a report by the Guardian final week that the UK would proceed to ship unsorted plastic waste to growing international locations, though the EU has banned the apply since 1 January.

Packham additionally criticised the latest UK approval for emergency use of a pesticide believed to kill bees, regardless of an EU-wide ban on its use outdoor and a British authorities pledge to hold the restrictions.

“These two things sent shivers of fear and shockwaves through the environmental community,” stated Packham. “It looks like we will have a toxic fight on our hands.”

Packham was certainly one of a number of environmentalists, consultants and MPs – from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP – to signal an open letter to the federal government on Thursday, accusing it of setting a “dangerous precedent” by failing to preserve its environmental guarantees.

The letter, backed by teams campaigning to cut back plastic waste, urged an end to “post-Brexit backtracking” on environmental protections and known as for a direct ban on the export of unsorted plastic waste to growing international locations.

It learn: “Leaving the EU was touted as Britain’s opportunity to set itself apart on the world stage as an environmental leader. This was supposed to be a ‘Green Brexit’, but the actions of the government thus far suggest otherwise.”

Signatories included Georgia Elliott-Smith, Unesco particular junior envoy for youth and the surroundings, Prof Sir Brian Hoskins of Imperial College London and Dr Paul Butler of the University of Exeter, in addition to a number of MPs.

Earlier this week a petition arrange by a nine-year-old lady after she learn the Guardian report, calling for a ban on exports of unsorted plastics to non-OECD international locations, attracted more than 70,000 signatures.

Packham stated: “EU legislation on the environment has been quite robust, on things like the birds directive and the habitats directive. But in the first few days of January, we have seen our government ship our problematic unsorted plastic waste around the world to countries who don’t have the capacity to deal with it.”

He in contrast the apply to somebody from a “posh neighbourhood chucking your rubbish into the garden of someone from the not-so-well-off neighbourhood next door and forgetting about it. Frankly, it’s irresponsible and embarrassing when we have the capacity and technology to deal with it, if only we put in the resources”.

New UK regulations say that so as to adjust to worldwide guidelines to sort out transboundary plastic waste, which started in January, any unsorted or difficult-to-recycle plastic waste may be despatched to non-OECD international locations, offering there may be prior knowledgeable consent by the exporting and importing international locations. The new guidelines come regardless of a Conservative occasion manifesto dedication to banning the apply, and guarantees of no regression on environmental requirements following Brexit.

Citing the local weather and the biodiversity crises which have targeted the minds of the scientific, surroundings and conservation neighborhood, Packham stated: “We have an enormous capacity going forward to help the environment. Instead, we have the burden of fighting the government not to back out of EU legislation to protect the environment.”

The UK is the second greatest per-capita producer of plastic waste on the earth. Around two-thirds of its plastic waste is distributed overseas.

The Environment Agency estimates that yearly about 210,000 tonnes of plastic waste is distributed from England to non-OECD international locations together with Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan.

Many of those international locations would not have an satisfactory infrastructure to course of the waste, which is burned or dumped. Eventually much ends up in the ocean.

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of worldwide marketing campaign group A Plastic Planet, stated: “If the federal government continues to backtrack on key environmental pledges we’re by no means going to see the ‘Green Brexit’ we had been all promised.

“With Cop26 right around the corner, now is the time for Britain to show the world it means business when it comes to tackling the pressing issues of plastic pollution and climate change, but we will never truly combat the plastic crisis if we continue to hide our guilt in other people’s backyards.”

Rebecca Pow, surroundings minister, insisted the federal government isn’t backtracking on its commitments to ban plastic waste exports to non-OECD international locations however she didn’t present a timetable for when the ban could be applied.

Pow stated: “The UK government is a global leader in tackling plastic pollution and we are absolutely not backtracking on our commitments in this area. Unlike the EU ban, our manifesto commitment to ban plastic waste exports to non-OECD countries is not limited to just one category of plastic waste.”

The division stated it had commissioned analysis to higher perceive present UK plastic waste recycling capability and would seek the advice of sooner or later on how to ship its manifesto commitments.



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