During a recent walk around Sunderland town centre I made a donation to a Salvation Army lady with a collection tin and in return she handed me the latest copy of the War Cry, The Salvation Army’s newspaper. It was a blast from the long distant past. When I was kid in the 1950’s and 60’s my father, a coal miner, would bring in a copy of the War Cry every Sunday afternoon after his visit to the pub. The Army members were always very well received and respected by the ‘happy’ drinkers because of everything they did during the air raids and other emergencies throughout the second world war, and still do today.
For this blog I am reproducing the editors Comment because I am sure it will be of concern to all of us…
As people celebrated the new year across the globe, China introduced a ban on imports of plastic waste. That ban, in a country more than 4,000 miles away will have a significant impact in the United Kingdom.
About half a million tonnes of plastic waste are shipped out of the UK every year and environmental groups and recycling organisations are warning that previously recycled products will now end up in landfill sites.
The UK Recycling Association has already said that plastic waste is building up at recycling yards.
Also warning about the perils of plastic products is the United Nations Environment Programme. It has estimated that by 2050 there could be more plastic rubbish than fish in the world’s oceans, with some of it taking more than 400 years to biodegrade.
The problems can also be found much closer to home in the UK’s rivers. A study in 2016 by environmental organisation Thames 21 found that 59% of the Thames was contaminated by minute particles of plastic.
The environmental problems that plastic causes cannot be ignored. Manufacturers need to be more responsible for the packaging they use. Consumers need to be more discerning about how the goods and foods they purchase are wrapped and packed.
Some may argue that the time has come to consider financial incentives such as the latté levy for takeaway cups.
Since the 5p carrier bag charge was introduced in England in 2015, the use of bags has gone down by more than 80% according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
If we didn’t need as many carrier bags as we were using, surely we don’t need as many plastic products either. It’s time to change our thinking and our buying habits. Our planet was not designed to come plastic wrapped.
The above article is reproduced from the War Cry dated 13 January 2018 and © André Cox, General of The Salvation Army, 2018.