Support IWA's canal clean-ups with new plastic bag levy05 October 2015
IWA is urging retailers in England to help us improve local communities by allocating substantial amounts from the windfall levy on plastic shopping bags towards cleaning up canal and river amenities. Our waterways are blighted by plastic and other waste.
Thousands of IWA volunteer hours are spent each year removing tonnes of waste from the country’s inland waterways. In 2014 our volunteers dedicated 7,000 hours to canal cleanup work parties across the country, up 45% on 2013. Along with some unexpected finds are considerable quantities of “the usual suspects”, including supermarket trollies, plastic bags, bottles and other packaging waste.
Les Etheridge, IWA’s chairman, appealed to medium and larger retailers, who will be required to collect the charge from customers under the Single Use Carrier Bags Charges (England) Order 2015, to use some of this levy to support efforts to enhance the waterways environment.
“The new law allows retailers to decide what ‘good causes’ they will support with what promises to be substantial sums of money,” Les Etheridge said.
“Donating some of this levy to support IWA’s year-on-year cleanup efforts will deliver long-term benefits to marine habitats and, of course, to the communities which surround them,” he said.
IWA campaigns officer Alison Smedley said: “Plastic and packaging waste in particular is terrible for the waterways habitat and for marine life, as well as for the wider enjoyment of the waterways’ millions of annual visitors. These are hugely popular places for leisure and well-being, so this levy is a massive opportunity for both retailers and waterways bodies such as ourselves to make a real difference.”
According to government (DEFRA) figures, in 2013 supermarkets gave out over 8 billion single-use carrier bags across the UK – nearly 130 bags per person – equating to about 57,000 tonnes of single-use carrier bags in total over the year.
Retailers and volunteers keen to support IWA’s charitable work on the waterways can access further information and contact details here.