OVER the course of the last two years, partly as a result of the BBC Blue Planet series, there has been a massive rise in public consciousness about plastic pollution as a global problem, in particular around the issue of single-use plastic bottles and packaging.

This public sea-change led to a number of councils, including Taunton Deane Borough Council voting to become a “single-use plastic free council” in February 2018.

This good intention, however, has not always been put into actual practice, such as the distribution of thousands of single-use plastic bottles to participants in the Taunton Deane Carnival Committee and TDBC-organized runs in the district, such as the 10 K in September and Taunton Marathon/Half-Marathon in April last year.

Feeling uneasy about this legacy of plastic waste, I decided to organize a petition on the campaign website, 38 Degrees, requesting that TDBC take concrete steps to reduce the use of plastic bottles at its events.

The petition attracted 987 signatories and was presented by TTT Secretary, Henry Haslam, to a full council meeting in December 2018.

Councillors at the meeting from all parties responded favourably to the petition and vowed to take the issue of reducing single-use plastics more seriously in future, but with Cllr Berry admitting there “was still a long way to go” in practice.

READ MORE: Taunton Deane Borough Council vows to tackle plastic problem

The Carnival Committee also reacted positively to the petition and have begun investigating ways to reduce the amount of waste at future events and claim to have cut the number of bottles by 25 % in 2019.

Hence, it is hoped that this downward trend will continue as awareness rises of the lasting damage that plastic is doing to our planet, from the ice sheets of the Arctic to the depths of the Mariana Trench.

Taunton Transition Town