Speaking at the House of Commons never loses its excitement, and walking into Parliament to speak still gave me the nervous thrum of energy as the previous times I’ve spoken in Westminster. I was lucky enough to be invited to talk at the Greenpeace “Upstream. Microplastics in UK Rivers” report launch, a scientific survey done on 13 major UK rivers to test for microplastics. Surprise, surprise, all the rivers were found to contain microplastics, with one of them being more polluted than the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
With such shocking results found here in the UK, Greenpeace rightly figured it was time for the politicians to step up, more now than ever, to tackle plastic pollution – and where better to release such important research and spread the political message than the House of Commons.
It was encouraging to see the number of politicians appearing at the launch, and the consequent spike in the number of MPs pledging to back a strong upcoming environmental bill. And, with inspiring talks set to the fitting backdrop of the River Thames (one of the sampled rivers), the event was more than just a release of research – it was a powerful call-to-action to all who attended, from the government to business.
It was an honour to be able to speak alongside and hear from Dr David Santillo, and members of Greenpeace and the Rivers Trust, and to be introduced by and follow Steve Backshall (a hero of my sister and I for a long time).
Each talk gave different perspectives and information, but all held the same message – that urgent action must be taken to combat plastic pollution, particularly at governmental level. We need a strong environmental bill and concrete legislation to help reverse the plastic crisis, and it needs to be implemented soon.
Let’s just hope that the MPs present help bring about governmental change and that the next few months, or even weeks, in Westminster produce the necessary action and strong environmental bill required to turn the plastic tide.
Image credits: Greenpeace