Help plastic fighting duo tackle rubbish in Banbury this weekend

Plastic waste dumped in Oxfordshire
Plastic waste dumped in Oxfordshire

A father and son team which has created a group to raise awareness of environmental issues is calling on like-minded individuals to help tackle plastic in Banbury.

Steven Williams, 47, and nine-year-old son, Will, set up Rescue Our Planet Earth (ROPE) two years ago and during that time have noticed an increase in the amount of plastic in waterways and the countryside.

The duo, who are from Cropredy, held a litter and plastic tidy-up in their village in December last year and collected seven sacks of rubbish over a three-mile stretch. Now they plan to hold a repeat of the event by the waterways of Banbury this Sunday, February 11.

People wanting to take part are asked to meet at The Mill, opposite Castle Quay, at 9.30am. As well as tackling rubbish by the water, the group will be bringing its own kayak along so it can pick up items out of the water. To find out more, visit www.facebook.com/RescueOurPlanetEarth/

Mr Williams said there were large amounts of unnecessary disposable plastic packaging in shops and supermarkets with some of it finding its way in the region's rivers and countryside.

He said: "Unfortunately seeing drink tins scattered around our countryside and waterways has become common place over the last 40 years but now we see so much more plastic packaging, such as plastic bags which looks awful and can be lethal to birds, farm animals and wildlife.

"Our responsibility as consumers, is to look for goods that use less or no plastic packaging. If we do have to buy a product that is in a bottle, tin or in some kind of plastic packaging then we need to ensure it's recycled and doesn't end up in landfill or in the countryside, waterways and the sea. The government needs to put more pressure on manufacturers and supermarkets to use less packaging.

"We need to stop buying products that are packaged in plastic and put pressure on the outlets supplying products with unnecessary packaging. Ultimately we need to stop using plastic all together and find a friendly biodegradable alternative, until then it's all of our responsibilities to buy carefully, recycle and dispose of our litter responsibly."

He added there had also been an increase in awareness of the issues surrounding plastic with programmes such as Blue Planet II focusing on the amount of plastic in the planet's oceans.

"The Blue Planet documentary really brings home the scale of the problem, and when you see the beautiful sea creatures dying, by getting tangled in and digesting our plastic waste, it's heartbreaking."

Oxfordshire County Council is also getting on board with the reduce plastic use message as it holds a consultation with district councils about how people can recycle more and reduce waste. Currently, the countywide recycling rate is around 60 per cent.

It has issued advice on how to cut down on the use of plastic such as using reusable bags when shopping, taking a reusable mug to the coffee shop for your takeaway coffee and buying larger or economy sizes of goods.

To take part in the consultation, visit www.recycleforoxfordshire.org.uk.