The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has welcomed the recent decision by the UK Government to ban the use of single-use plastic in England.
The decision, announced by the Environment Secretary, follows a similar ban on single-use plastic in Scotland and Wales.
Single-use plastic poses a considerable risk to public health, with research demonstrating how plastics have the capacity to pollute soil, water, and impact upon food hygiene. With government figures showcasing how there are over 1.1 billion single-use plastic plates and over 4 billion pieces of plastic cutlery in England each year, this announcement is a very welcome first step.
However, CIEH is calling on the UK Government to go even further and announce a widespread strategy to both reduce plastic use and consumption. This must be coupled with promoting changes to consumer behaviour to encourage greater reuse and refilling which will more meaningfully reduce the amount of plastic in circulation.
CIEH supports the introduction of a plastic reduction strategy, coupled with stringent interim targets to be met as a means of achieving this, and welcomes the opportunity to engage with DEFRA in the design and delivery of such a strategy.
“CIEH welcomes the ban of single-use plastic in England, following on from similar bans introduced in both Scotland and Wales.
CIEH has long campaigned for measures to tackle plastic pollution and are delighted that real progress looks like it could be in reach.
The impact of single-use plastic on public health is well-documented, therefore while such a move is to be lauded, more really does need to be done.
We also want to hear from government about the role environmental health professionals will have in supporting this ban, and what resources central government will be providing to local authorities to help them in its administration.
We urge the UK Government to introduce a detailed plastic reduction strategy and would welcome the opportunity to engage in producing such a strategy for the good of public health and environmental protection.”