Sustainability

A 9-Year-Old’s UK Plastic Waste Petition Has Got Over 80K Signatures in a Week

Photo: A Child Explores “Recycling Labyrinth” Art Installation at U.N. Office Geneva, via Global Citizen

Article by Helen Lock, Global Citizen

You never know what is going to be the spark for the next budding activist to take a stand.

In the case of 9-year-old Lizzie A. (her family prefers her last time is not revealed), it was a news story about how the UK is still sending tonnes of plastic waste to low- and middle-income countries — despite an EU-wide ban, and a government manifesto pledge to stop doing so.

In September 2020 alone, as Global Citizen has reported, the UK sent more than 7,000 metric tonnes of plastic waste to countries such as Malaysia, Pakistan, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Turkey, according to the nonprofit Last Beach Clean Up.

The plastic does not always end up being recycled and reused, sadly, often it is simply burned. The waste that is being sent “is often unsorted and dirty”, Jim Puckett, director of the Basel Action Network, a nonprofit that works on issues related to how toxic waste is dealt with, explained. “This is the stuff we see being dumped and burned in south-east Asia,” he added.

News of this prompted Lizzie to set up a petition on Change.org asking the UK government to stop, arguing that the practice “isn’t fair or right”.

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