Our Trashed Environment

Our environment is being trashed by us and it’s time we took back control.

Let’s not kid ourselves, we have the choice to say no, we always have had, and always will.

It just seems people want an easy life, don’t they?

Actually, I’m talking to you, I’m including me too. If you are one of the growing number of campaigners or are doing everything possible to limit your impact then great, you are ahead of me and I’m so grateful for your care. I’m grateful that someone has been doing something while I get to grips with this myself and I’m sorry it took so long. Like many I was busy surviving. Is that an excuse? well, if you’re like me and have been doped by the last twenty years and have suffered a lack of self-assertion then no, it’s been a false reality, but one that seemed real enough to me.

The difference now is that I’m aware and am not prepared to stick my head in the sand. However, it did take the problem to come to my village before I really became enraged, it took for me to complete the circle of understanding and to decide to address this whilst trying not to blame. This sounds like the job of a campaigner, doesn’t it?

Well actually just informing someone that something has happened locally to you is great. Fly tipping, chemical dumping, Yes!

A woman not using bags for life?

Maybe not, and I’ll pick that up at the end, but that brings us back to campaigning

So why campaign?

Having strolled into a local field lately and been confronted by hundreds of truck-loads of plastic waste that had been ploughed into the soil, I decided I had to do something. It seems I had become a campaigner.

Isn’t campaigning hard work?

Campaigning isn’t always easy but once you know the general pattern of outcomes it gets much easier. It takes a little time to research, to know your subject a little, it takes time to contact all parties concerned to try and establish what they know and what they are hiding or what they are prepared to do. However, if you’re taking it seriously then it will require you to act as a reporter where necessary, bringing information forward to the general public whilst feeding important information for those in the thick of the problem to act on, talk about, and if all goes well, to put into action. The best thing to do is get support, because there will be others that will pick it up with or for you. Basically…

By you or by someone else

Action is needed somewhere now

It seems that most people just walk on by. It was surprising to me that although a contravention of some law had obviously just ruined a vast swathe of land, I was the only person to bring it to the eyes of the general public by informing the local paper. It’s all too easy to walk past and let someone else deal with it, or at best, walk past because we think somebody already is dealing with it. This was usually me. I always thought someone else would have picked up on the (add an incident, or uncaring action  here)  that I was walking past and would just carry on. It turns out that people don’t. Shouldn’t it be the job of the authorities?

The authorities are accountable as is big business

Having discovered the plastic ploughed into my local fields I alerted the Environment Agencywho raised an incident number and sent someone to investigate. their UK phone number is 0800 80 70 60. As the originator of an incident you will be the only person able to follow up the call at a later stage, so I made sure I made note of all names and relevant information.

I contacted many people to unravel what had happened for the plastics to get ploughed into fields in my village, 6sq miles of fields in total. I am still waiting on reply’s from the National Farmers Union(who refused to answer some questions while the investigation is on-going) and the Local Council have yet to get involved (although the liberal democrat representative is trying very hard). The case as a whole is still ongoing, with the investigation focused on the farmer and what is called PAS100, a piece of legislation! Do I find this surprising?

Not surprising at all

but who needs to blame? as a campaigner I  just want to put things right.

PAS100 is a process to allow private companies to produce compost to a regulatory standard. It is governed by the environment agency but produced by another private company. It’s passed as a regulatory legislation by DEFRA who is overseen by the government yet samples are tested and passed by a private company carrying out private profitable work for other private companies who sometimes are put under pressure.

A Pressure pot of problems. 

Essentially the problem is at present out of hand. We have too much waste and nowhere to put it. Recycling machinery costs a small fortune, sieving machines, sorting machines and the like. Recycling is being carried out on mass at 12 million tonnes of it per year which roughly translates at 46% of our total waste, but government cuts and the threat of Brexit has meant that every part of the chain is under pressure. This includes farmers, who’s land, having been de-mineralised through over-production need to find a way to enrich the soil of our lands. Climate change will only exacerbate the problem.

At present we are producing compost that comes from our garden green bin waste and what we put in those bins matters.

You know the council will refuse to take your bin if the wrong materials are in them, this is true for your green bin too, however they cannot afford to check every one.  And those bags that you put your garden waste in, the green one’s, the black ones, the blue one’s. They end up as a large part of the 5% of plastics that the legislation actually allows to be ploughed into the land.

Did you know that the council are charged (you are charged) every time the composting company has to turn away a lorry that is too heavily contaminated?

Once contaminated a lot of rubbish still gets through the net and ends up in compost, the list is long and includes everything that can come from your garden, including: bike parts, toys, clothes pegs, lighters, golf balls, liquid fertiliser bottles, black bin bags, blue bin bags…etc. You get the picture. This is ending up on our fields because the system cannot cope.

There are two reasons there are failures in the system and they are:

People don’t care and the system processes are failing us.

This looks  to me like a circle of events that starts with us and ends with us! We can’t keep blaming business, yet we can say No!

 

The Supermarkets

The supermarkets have a lot of responsibility and they are packaging everything to the hilt. This must change but so must we. We must stop buying pre-packed goods.

The Meat Industry

We need to stop eating as much meat! It’s killing us! We still need animals on the land though, just far, far, fewer. Most of all we must stop buying and eating as much meat.

The Clothing Industry

WE need to stop buying synthetic goods. Spend more on something that lasts longer. Stop wanting to be the type of fashionable that is pushed by corporate numptys.

Industry as a whole

Anything plastic is bad, decide if you really need it and learn how to fix things.

Here is a list of  the 14 processes in place at the local council, in order of their failures, leaving our soil full of plastic waste.

General public putting the wrong waste in their bins

Inadequate council policy

Council not informing general public well enough

Council not enforcing contraventions

Processing plant taking in contaminated waste

Processing plant offering inadequate samples for testing under PAS100

PAS100 failing to encompass adequate sample specifications

Private designers of PAS100 not acting to correct failures

Processing plant not checking compost out

Drivers not checking loads out

Land contractors not checking loads in

Land contractors not checking whilst spreading ( not caring)

Farmer not qualifying delivered compost

Land owner not putting checks in place

If the people involved in these processes from start to finish were part of my tribe, I would expect it wouldn’t even happen in the first place. And that should be true for every person in the country!

There is not one tribe that treats our country like shit, instead there are tribes that are prepared to overlook some of their people’s transgressions because they are all too busy trying to survive. We all need to help them.

If people that you consider part of your tribe are not giving a shit then support them and ask for support yourself whilst doing so. Remember, you are probably part of my tribe and I’m definitely here to support you.

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