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UK To 'Eliminate' Wet Wipes In Attempt To Crack Down On Plastic Pollution

UK To 'Eliminate' Wet Wipes In Attempt To Crack Down On Plastic Pollution

The UK government is planning to 'eliminate' wet wipes as part of an ongoing drive to cut down on plastic pollution.

Prime Minister Theresa May has already pledged to outlaw plastic cotton buds, straws and drink stirrers. Now, Environmental Secretary Michael Gove has got his sights set on wet wipes, which are often made of polyester and take years to degrade.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said in a statement: "As part of our 25-year environment plan we have pledged to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, and that includes single-use products that include plastic such as wet wipes."

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Thousands of wipes are flushed down toilets, causing blockages in sewage systems and even changing the shape of the River Thames.

According to the Mail Online, 5,000 wipes had collected near Hammersmith Bridge in an 116 square metre area - the highest number to ever be found in one spot.

In south west London a massive clump of used wet wipes has managed to change the shape of the riverbed.

Kirsten Downer from Thames 21, a charity that works to clean up rivers and canals told the Guardian: "You need to go at low tide to see the mounds forming. The Thames riverbed is changing. Wet wipes are accumulating on the riverbed and affecting the shape of the riverbed. It looks natural but when you get close you can see that these clumps are composed of wet wipes mixed with twigs and mud."

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

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A study by Water UK found that wipes make up a whopping 93 percent of the material causing blockages in sewer systems.

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Kirsten added: "We want people to realise that this is not just happening on the Thames, but on rivers and canals all round the country.

"All the time we were working, people kept coming to ask what we were doing. People are far more upset and concerned about the plastics problem than they ever have been."

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Topics: uk news, plastic pollution

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Claire Reid

Claire is a journalist at LADbible who, after dossing around for a few years, went to Liverpool John Moores University. She graduated with a degree in Journalism and a whole load of debt. When not writing words in exchange for money she is usually at home watching serial killer documentaries surrounded by cats. You can contact Claire at [email protected]