THE number of single-use bags handed out in the UK has gone up again over the past two years. In 2011 we used eight billion plastic carrier bags. That equals 254 bags handed out per second. This is a tremendous waste of valuable resources that often results in litter, and can be lethal to wildlife on land and at sea.
Sadly this is a very English problem. England is where the growth in bag use is happening, and we are the only country in the UK that does not require shops to charge for bags and isn’t actively considering introducing a charge.
When Wales introduced a 5p bag levy in 2011, single-use bag use fell by between 70-96 per cent. Ireland did it in 2002 and the number of single-use bags fell by 90 per cent, as well as the amount of bag litter. Some shops are already doing this voluntarily but the only way to make a real difference is for the Government to make sure England is not left behind, and introduce an English bag levy. The money raised can even be spent on clearing litter, not making shops money, as happens in Wales.
That is why I am supporting the Break the Bag Habit campaign run by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Keep Britain Tidy, the Marine Conservation Society and Surfers Against Sewage. It’s simple to add your voice to this campaign by visiting their websites and writing to your MP.
Mrs Marilyn O’Loughlin, South Chailey