Petition to eThekwini City Council
Help Us Ban Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) in Durban
Expanded Polystyrene pollution is out of control in Durban and causing untold damage to the environment, public health and tourism revenues. Take a walk along one of Durban’s beaches on any day and you will notice an endless line of tiny fragments of expanded polystyrene (EPS) along the high tide mark. It becomes more noticeable when summer rains flush storm-water drains and roads and deposit a white carpet of polystyrene along some of our favourite beaches. This is just the tip of the ice-berg. Millions of pieces lie buried beneath the beach sand, in rivers and estuaries or are drifting out at sea. Problematic products made from EPS include fast food containers, disposable cups and packaging trays that hold meat, fruit and vegetables. Many Durbanites are unaware of the impact of EPS and enjoy the material because it is cheap, light, insulating and disposable. However, it has a dark side. Because it is so light, easily fragments, and is most often used outdoors, it gets in to the environment easily and is one of most mismanaged items of waste in the city, and indeed globally. EPS is almost impossible to clean up once in the environment. Ask the army of municipal beach cleaners and folk at #cleanbluelagoon who battle this scourge on an ongoing basis. Once in the environment, the cups, trays and burger clam shells quickly break up into tiny pieces which attract other toxins and are mistaken for food by birds, fish and other marine life. Scientific studies show that micro-plastic are being ingested by marine life in Durban’s coastal waters. Although EPS can technically be recycled, the technology is of no-use if the litter is evading collection systems. The economics of EPS recycling in South Africa is also on shaky ground. EPS is also a threat to human health. Polystyrene products are made from styrene, a known carcinogen and neurotoxin that can leach into hot, greasy food. EPS can be dangerous because it emits toxic chemicals when the containers are burned, and rubbish is routinely burned in informal settlements and outer areas of eThekwini. EPS containers are so hazardous that many Countries and cities around the world have banned it, included Zimbabwe, New Dehli, New York City, Washington DC and San Francisco. The good news is that we don’t really need EPS in our lives. Re-usable cups and containers are light and affordable for everyone and just require the self-discipline to carry these. There are also a number of other foodware materials that vendors can use that are less harmful on the environment, including recycled cardboard and paper pulp, other safer and more manageable plastic polymers and home-compostable containers made from renewable biomass (such as sugar cane). The cost to Durbanites caused by the impacts from EPS far outweigh the supposed benefits of its momentary additional convenience. We need you to change the status quo in Durban! SIGN THE PETITION REQUESTING THE FOLLOWING: All retailers and vendors to stop selling or offering EPS foodware and cups to customers in Durban and to promote re-usable containers or more environmentally friendly alternatives. All retailers and vendors supplying fruit and vegetables on EPS foodtrays to implement time-bound measures to transition to more environmentally friendly alternatives and to reduce unnecessary packaging for these foods. The eThekwini Council to research and implement regulations and practical measures that will eradicate unnecessary EPS products in Durban, whilst having a net economic benefit to the City. Once this petition reaches 1,000 signatures, DAPP will take the petition to those retailers and food outlets in Durban selling or using EPS and urge them to stop using the material. DAPP will then formally submit the petition and a written memorandum to the eThekwini City Council. Let free Durban from the blight of expanded polystyrene pollution! Steve | Durbanites Against Plastic Pollution For more information on this campaign, please visit the Durbanites Against Plastic Pollution Website
Petition to UK Parliament
Ban The Use of Polluting Polystyrene Plastic Packaging In The UK
One of the most ubiquitous and difficult to dispose of packaging materials used in a variety of settings including takeaway foods (such as ice-cream and curries) and drinks (such as coffee cups), electronic goods, electrical appliances, furniture and groceries is that of Polystyrene or 'Styrofoam' - a trade name for expanded polystyrene (EPS). The volunteer initiative EcoMENA points out that "Polystyrene tends to take up significant space in rubbish bins which means that bins becomes full more quickly and therefore needs to be emptied more often [... and is] lightweight compared to its volume so it occupies lots of precious landfill space and can be blown around and cause a nuisance in the surrounding areas […] it is essentially non-biodegradable, taking hundreds perhaps thousands of years to decompose. Even when already disposed of in landfills, EPS can easily be carried by the wind and litter the streets or end up polluting water bodies. When EPS foam breaks apart, the small polystyrene components can be eaten by animals which can cause choking or intestinal blockage". Furthermore, according to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, "Polystyrene is the most common form of plastic found on beaches worldwide. Made from styrene—a known animal carcinogen and probable human carcinogen—it was ranked the 5th worst global industry in terms of toxic waste production by the Environmental Protection Agency. Typically, it is not recyclable." Many UK Councils do not currently have polystyrene recycling processes in place. Costa Rica, Honduras and various US states have recently taken the commendable step of banning such packaging for the sake of reducing the extent of plastic pollution in landfill sites and waterways. It is time for the UK to do the same for the sake of this planet and future generations.
Petition to Dr Amy Khor
Anti-Plastic Petition, Singapore
Dear Dr Amy Khor Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, We issue this petition on World Environment Day with grave concern as to your recent comments regarding plastic bag usage, as reported in several news outlets including the Straits Times. We refer in particular to the absence of plans for a levy on plastic bags, or any meaningful legislation to curb the prodigious usage of them in our country. Singapore now stands with the ever-diminishing list of countries that avoid the critical issue of excessive plastic consumption. In this regard, we are sorry to say that Singapore stands on the wrong side of history. But this is something that you, in your role as Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, can address - not just for the good of your contemporaries, but also for all future generations. We face the prospect of a world weighed down by plastic - where the discovery of dead animals’ stomachs full of discarded plastic waste is the norm, not the exception. This is a world we cannot accept, and therefore which it is our responsibility to prevent. A plastic bag levy is a practical solution which will both draw attention to the often unthinking usage of multiple bags when fewer or none will do, whilst simultaneously generating revenue which can be used to develop alternative materials, recycling options, or even to promote other elements of the government’s environmental agenda. It makes little sense to avoid implementing a levy until an alternative material can be developed - this condemns our country and the surrounding region to potentially years more pollution on a vast scale, and is representative of nothing more than a policy void paired with permanent and harmful implications for the world. We must only look around us - to the many other countries in the world that have led from the front, for inspiring stories of how small changes can have powerful effects. In the UK, a 5 pence plastic bag levy led to an 83% drop in usage within one year. In Taiwan, an NT$1 charge for every plastic bag led to an 80% drop usage within a year. Australia achieved a 45% drop, Denmark a 60% drop - the list goes on, and on - and each example demonstrates that change is possible. Plastic bag usage is an addiction, and one that can be broken: For the good of all of us and all of the world around us. Dr Khor, you occupy a position of wisdom and responsibility within our government so we ask that you consider this when considering our petition. We ask that you look at not the short-term issues, but those of the long-term. In fifty years a generation will look back and wonder how people could so recklessly and persistently damage the world around them. And so we ask you to help us stand on the right side of history. This petition requests that you implement a levy on plastic bag usage, with a view to reducing overall usage of plastic bags in Singapore. We do not ask that you find an alternative, and thus we do not accept that a delay is necessary until an alternative can be found. Meaningful action can be taken now, and we ask that you take it. For those signing this petition, thank you for your action. Please leave your comments and stories below for Dr Amy Khor to read as well. Our voices must be heard. For more information on plastics, visit wwf.sg/uselessplastic Photo credit: National Geographic
Petition to Prime Minister of Pakistan
Introduce Biodegradable Plastic in Pakistan
One of the leading causes of increasing environmental pollution is the world’s growing population. As the population rises, so does the amount of garbage that people produce. For a better lifestyle people need effortlessly disposable products, such as soda cans or bottles of water. We have become a disposable state and nation; however, it is a bitter reality that the hoarding of these products has led to increasing amounts of plastic pollution in Pakistan. Plastic is not an inherently good object, as it is composed of major toxic pollutants that have potential to cause great harm to the environment in the form of air, water and land pollution. In addition, it has started to impact the natural ecosystem negatively while creating problems for wildlife and human population such as killing of plant life and posing hazards to animals. According to a study, about 8 million tonnes of plastics are deliberately dumped into the oceans globally. They also find their way due to wind and the flow of rivers and release of urban overflow into water channels. It is shocking to know that the simplest plastic normally used in grocery store bags take over 100 years to collapse, though the complex ones take between 100 and 600 years or even beyond that to decompose. It is estimated that food wrappers and containers produce 31.15% of pollution in the environment. Bottles and containers cap produce 15.5% of pollution in the environment. Plastic bags cause 11.18% environmental pollution, straw and stirrers produce 8.13%, beverage bottles cause 7.27% pollution in the environment. Since 1967, global plastic production has increased from two million tonnes to 380 million tonnes, almost three times faster than the world’s GDP. Since 1950, the world has produced 9 billion tonnes of plastic waste. Of that only 9% has been recycled and another 12% incinerated. The rest of the waste was either dumped into landfills or emptied into the natural environment. There are several countries that have duly banned the use of plastic bags such as Bangladesh, France and Rwanda. Pakistan lags behind in these initiatives and is probably years away from a partial or blanket ban on plastic bags. There are countless environmental threats in Pakistan; from villages to small towns and big cities everywhere — on the street corners, in the air, on the seashore, in the freshwater bodies, in the water channels, we find heaps of plastic waste. Such waste has stained what used to be our once beautiful seashore of Karachi. Elsewhere in the country, we are producing and using plastic-related objects with wild abandon. We haul our groceries from the market in plastic bags, at home we eat in plastic utensils and instead of using mud pitchers for drinking water we rely on plastic-made coolers. We also store our spices and other consumer goods in plastic containers and bowls. We drink bottled water every day, we use plastic mobile pouches, students take plastic made geometry boxes to school and the processed crisps we buy is packed in plastic wrappers. In today’s world plastic has become our soulmate. To conclude plastic pollution is an environmental menace and poses a major problem for marine life and freshwater lakes in Pakistan; it destroys habitats and adversely impacts wildlife species. Apart from the above-mentioned effects of plastic pollution, some of the more disturbing impacts are: it upsets the food chain, pollutes groundwater, land and air. It kills animals and is highly poisonous and expensive. Therefore, on a serious note the government, relevant institutions and policymakers need to rethink their strategy and devise adequate measures against this ecological threat. -Express Tribune We urge the Prime Minister of Pakistan to personally look in to this matter and replace the usage of plastic with biodegradable plastic which only takes 1-2months to degrade, and take steps to reduce plastic pollution in Pakistan.
Petition to Nathan Smith CEO Whittard of Chelsea
Whittards STOP using plastic tasting cups
Whittards uses plastic tasting cups for sampling their hot drinks. The amount of waste this is creating for just one use per customer is huge! These tasting cups are used in all stores including outlets and has created so much plastic pollution over the christmas holidays. For a brand that promotes lots of plastic free packing this isn't inline with their environmental values. Please stop using plastic and swap to something more environmentally viable. We care about our future and our plastic consumption, swap to biodegradable test cups Whittards!
Petition to Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, Walmart, Target, Tesco, Sainsbury
Recyclable Cards and Gift Wrapping
This Christmas I received so many stunning Christmas cards, you would find them in almost every room of my house! I think these cards are absolutely delightful, however, I was horrified when I found out that every card I received, except two, had either been coated in glitter or foil! As pretty as cards and wrapping paper covered in glitter/foil may be, it means that they can't be recycled! I then had to tear off the fronts of the cards and throw them away, along with all my wrapping paper. It may not seem like much but there are an estimated billion Christmas cards thrown away each year, resulting in so much unnecessary waste. To make matters worse, I (like many other people) was previously unaware that these cards and wrapping paper could not be recycled, and have done it anyway. There have been reports that glittery cards, foil coated paper, and sticky tape stop the recycling process, meaning that tonnes of otherwise recyclable paper end up in landfill due to contamination. Therefore, I believe that stores should be encouraged to sell more recyclable cards and wrapping paper. People need to be made aware that cards and wrapping paper with glitter, foil and other plastic parts can't be recycled. They need to know how to dispose of them properly, in order to avoid contaminating recyclable paper. I hope this knowledge will also encourage people to make more sustainable choices when buying cards and wrapping paper in the future.
Petition to Stuart Machin, Carmel Mcquaid, Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, Theresa Villiers
STOP the Little Shop M&S promo and halt giving away FREE plastic toys when Food shopping
Marks and Spencers (M&S) in the United Kingdom have stated in 12 months from October 2018 they will be reducing 1,000 tonnes of plastic packaging within their Stores. However they are introducing a promotion where each food shop of more than £20 earns the shopper a Mini Plastic version of the plastic rubbish we are trying to get rid off! Please sign this petition to ask M&S to stop this promotion.
Petition to Chicago City Council, Mayor of Chicago
Ban Styrofoam Containers in Chicago
The city of Chicago has moved forward to support a reduction of plastic by its tax on plastic bags. However, this is far from enough to solve the global crisis of plastics overall. Styrofoam containers, that are commonly seen to be used by restaurants in containing takeaway food, is another major source of plastic pollution. This problem has been realised by many others and has led to action by other cities. New York, Boston and Los Angeles are just some of many major American cities that have or will impose a complete ban on styrofoam boxes. It is precisely this that proves the point which a styrofoam ban is entirely possible in a major American city, and is also heavily necessary. There is no reason why Chicago should fall behind. Think about the amount of these takeaway boxes that are just floating in the ocean, ending up in a whale's stomach? Chicago needs to act, and act quickly. I hereby invite all of you who see this petition to sign and show support to the ideal. Plastics are a global problem, and the realisation of a ban in Chicago does not only affect local residents, but also ultimately change all of our lives for good. Chicago is just one of many battles we will face for winning the war on plastic, but every victory comes from an accumulation of small wins. SAY NO TO STYROFOAM BOXES, CHICAGO!