With the nation immersed in ‘Olympimania’, especially with the news ‘Froome’ the cycling ‘Wiggin’ our way and army girls taking to the water, what better time to raise the subject of plastic bags and their harmful effect on the environment.
From Politics Home we learn that environmental charities have joined forces to urge the Government to put a levy on single-use plastic bags in England after a successful scheme in Wales. Northern Ireland and Scotland have announced plans to introduce a ‘bag tax’, leaving England the only part of the UK without such a scheme to reduce the use of plastic. The Campaign to Protect Rural England, Keep Britain Tidy, the Marine Conservation Society and Surfers Against Sewage have launched the ‘Break the Bag Habit’ campaign to push for an English levy – and it will not have escaped the notice of readers that immediately various lobby groups hit the media in support of such a move.
In the case, for example, of Keep Britain Tidy here we have a ‘charity’ half of whose funding comes from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – together with further income from local authorities – by which means the government is able to fund a pressure group to lobby them to introduce a policy which it knows it may well have to do anyway, but I digress. Why the EU element accusation, I hear you ask?
As I have said many times, when a story ‘breaks’ – and, in actual fact, this is not ‘new’ news – it is always as well to look for an ‘EU influence’. Sure enough, only last year the EU held a ‘consultation’ on options to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags and options to improve the requirements of biodegradability in the Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste and the visibility of biodegradable packaging products to consumers.
Enter Louise Gray, Daily Telegraph, with an article on this subject of plastic bags; one which she seems to have ‘cribbed’ from other websites – yet way back in March, Spiegel produced an article on this subject. Louise Gray repeats the ‘single-use’ mantra yet fails to mention that last year the Environment Agency carried out a survey which found that 60% of people reuse all carrier bags, while more than two thirds of single-use carrier bags were reused – the report can be read here.
This is yet another example of the public being led to believe, through incompetent journalism and non-transparent politicians, that a policy being considered is one ‘home-grown’ – when in fact the truth lies elsewhere.
While it would make no appreciable difference in the number of plastic bags sent to landfill, perhaps 650 could be placed over the heads of one section of our society and then tightly tied round their necks?