We need swift action to ban
single-use plastics and improve education and recycling facilities to tackle
the litter and plastic waste problem in Wales, says the Welsh Youth Parliament.
The report - What to do with our Waste? - is available here
It’s calling on the Welsh
Government to introduce either a new policy, or legislation, to curb plastic
use, either before the end of this Senedd term or early in the next one.
Further recommendations call
for better provision of recycling bins around Wales and teaching children and
young people about the dangers of pollution and the benefits of recycling and
reducing our consumption of single-use plastic.
may be in a situation where there is more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050.
That is not a situation that we can allow to happen. We have the ability and
potential as a country to make a difference to our generation and to future
generations.” - Efan Fairclough, Welsh Youth Parliament Member.
The link between plastic
pollution and the wider topic of climate change is highlighted in a recent
report by the Centre for International Environmental
current levels, greenhouse gas emissions from the plastic lifecycle threaten
the ability of the global community to keep global temperature rise below
1.5C.” (May 2019).
start of secondary school, I got a grasp on just how big the issue of plastic
waste was; in school, at home, everywhere and I could see the devastating
effects of plastic on the environment.” - Ubayedhur Rahman, Welsh Youth Parliament
“I truly believe education is extremely important and is
the main way we can inspire the younger generations to be more eco-friendly.” - Anwen
Youth Parliament Member.
In a survey of 560 children and
young people around Wales, 93 per cent said their parents or carers were the
most influential in their awareness of the need to recycle, while only 42 per
cent listed high profile environmental champions such as Sir David Attenborough
or Greta Thunberg.
While 90 per cent of those
surveyed recycled plastic bottles and 80 per cent recycled drinks cans, less
than half of those surveyed recycled other plastic items such as packaging
trays, plastic pots, paper, cardboard, food waste, glass and clothing.
think things like paper, cardboard, tins, glass are all easy to recycle...the
fact that these are, generally not being recycled, this is actually a pretty
significant problem.” - Aled Joseph, Welsh Youth Parliament Member.
During the consultation,
Members learned more about the need to consider sustainability in our use of
many items. They became far more aware of the effect clothing has on the issue
of plastic pollution as microplastics from synthetic fibres, often found in
fast fashion items, are washed into our seas. This is one of the areas which
they feel awareness needs be raised further.
plastic bottles, we talk about more than other types of plastic and that has an
influence. When it comes to recycling clothing, which wasn’t that high compared
to plastic bottles, we don’t talk about the need to recycle clothing that much,
so it’s also about what we talk about” - Ffion-Haf Davies, Welsh Youth Parliament Member.
There are ten recommendations
in the report by the Welsh Youth Parliament. In it members say:
We want to see Welsh Government take swift, significant action to end the production of single-use plastics (with some essential exceptions), and consider approaches such as banning the production of single-use plastics, Extended Producer Responsibility, and/or Deposit Return Schemes;
A greater emphasis on educating all young people across Wales on the negative effects of littering and plastic waste, and how young people can help to tackle these issues; and,
Equip all education institutions with the facilities they need to ensure that a wider range of materials can be recycled and that the amount of single-use plastic being used is reduced significantly. We hope this in turn would also mean that young people form good habits at an early age.
The findings andrecommendations will be sent to the Welsh Government to consider and respond
The report is the final of
three key priorities decided on by the Welsh Youth Parliament when it first met
in February last year. Those priorities were: