“We need to do a lot more to fight plastic waste”
Column of Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie.
This week it’s Greenpeace’s The Big Plastic Count. Households and schools across the country, including in Stroud, have signed up to participate. Plastic is a big issue and concern for local children, who often educate us adults. When I visited Rodborough Community Primary School last week, the majority of questions were on the topic of plastic waste.
The school’s 4th graders collect crisp packets of their lunches and send them to the Stroud Valleys Project, while learning about the effect of plastic on the environment. They are committed to finding new ways to help both here in Stroud and how the UK can lead the world.
The government has done a lot to limit plastic pollution through a series of policies and new laws. What people are aware of in their daily lives is how we managed to stop plastic bags from becoming the norm in stores and ban things like microplastics. We need to do much more nationally and internationally, as the amount of plastic waste produced globally is set to double by 2040.
It’s fantastic that the children of Rodborough really understand that good practice starts at home and in their schools. I saw many budding environmental scientists in the class!
The idea of the Big Plastic Count is to count the bottles, packages and other pieces of plastic used in a household or school for just one week and send the data to Greenpeace.
I hope as many people as possible will get involved and that the national results will be shared in July.
The Queen’s Speech took place last week with HRH Prince Charles coming to Parliament in place of Her Majesty the Queen who unfortunately was unable to manage the various staircases this year. I loved seeing smiling photos of her over the weekend. She is such a wonderful role model.
It was a wide-ranging speech that made it clear that the government’s goal is to grow the economy so that we can better withstand the pressures of the cost of living. There will be 38 bills for Parliament to consider during this session.
As many readers know, I am a passionate champion of continuing and adult education and a regular visitor and big supporter of our brilliant SGS College. I didn’t go to college and studied to be a lawyer in night school and attended law school on the weekends. I therefore know how important it is to be able to train, retrain or acquire professional qualifications.
So I was very pleased to see the government’s continued commitment to building a stronger, future-proof lifelong skills system using continuing education and adult learning.
We live in a rapidly changing world where skills can become redundant much faster than ever. We are also embarking on a green skills revolution with huge opportunities for people to retrain in trades like electric vehicle repair or operation and maintenance for renewable energy. We need the ability of adults to retrain in new skills if we want to have a competitive, flexible and highly skilled economy.
This opportunity for all comes via the government’s right to life loan. It will provide people with a loan equivalent to four years of study or £37,000 in today’s fees. This can be used throughout life for a range of studies, including shorter and technical courses. This will allow people to retrain, retrain and get other jobs as the economy expands into new areas.
It is an innovative and radical use of post-18 education to enable people to learn, train and remain employable throughout their lives. This is a big plus that will support many thousands of people and it is also long term. I think he’s great and he has my full support.