Labour MEP for the South West, Clare Moody, secured a meeting between marine conservationists behind the Rame Peninsular bottle-top chain campaign and the European Commissioner for the Environment, Karmenu Vella, in Bristol.
The campaigners, including Clare Wallerstein and Sandra Cooper of Rame Peninsular Beach Care and Sue Kinsey of the Marine Conservation Society, met with Ms Moody and Commissioner Vella to highlight the environmental threat posed by marine plastics and what further action the EU should take to reduce marine pollution.
During the meeting, the campaigners presented Commissioner Vella with a section of the kilometre-long bottle-top chain. The chain is made from an estimated 65,000 plastic bottle-tops, collected in just twelve weeks last winter by volunteers along Cornwall’s beaches.
Clare Moody MEP joined more than 300 volunteers for the chain’s unveiling at Whitsand Bay, Cornwall, in April, she said:
“How we mitigate the threat that plastic debris poses to our marine environment is one of the most important questions of our time, with serious implications for future generations.
"It is an issue that threatens coastlines around the south west, from Bournemouth to Penzance and St Ives to the Severn Estuary, the rest of Britain, and all of Europe. It is not, therefore, an issue that one community, local authority or national government can tackle on its own. It is an issue that will require international co-operation, and the European Union is well-placed to take a lead on this.
"Real action will need to happen on a range of fronts, to promote responsibility among plastics producers, to improve the recyclability of products, to set higher standards for recycling, and to change consumer attitudes towards recycling; areas where MEPs’ work to promote the circular economy could have a real impact.
"The bottle-top chain provides a startling visualisation of just how severe this problem has become in recent years and the strength of public feeling that it generates so I’m pleased that Commissioner Vella agreed to meet with Claire and her colleagues. I am determined to push this issue at a European level and this meeting provides a great first opportunity to highlight it with one of Europe’s most senior environmental officials.”