By Emily Beament, Press Association Environment Correspondent
A global day of action is calling for “deposit return schemes” across the world to stop the environmental harm caused by drinks containers.
Groups from 23 countries across five continents will, at 9am local time in each place, release aerial photographs and videos of messages written on hillsides, beaches and buildings calling for a “clean planet”.
The campaigners want to see the introduction of deposit return schemes, in which people pay a small deposit on drinks bottles and cans which is refunded when they return them for recycling, worldwide to help tackle waste.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is taking part in the stunt, which comes after the Scottish government announced it would bring in a deposit return system which would be up and running by 2021.
CPRE held England’s “clean planet” event in West Sussex, where the charity hung banners with the message from the sails of a windmill overlooking the South Downs National Park.
The countryside campaigners said deposit return schemes boost recycling and help tackle waste and littering from an estimated 1.9 trillion drinks cans, glass and plastic bottles, cartons, pouches and sachets sold worldwide in 2019.
In England, the Government is consulting on a deposit return scheme which could focus just on “on the go” drinks containers up to a certain size or be more comprehensive.
CPRE is calling for the introduction of an “all in” scheme covering drinks cans, bottles and cartons of all sizes and materials to tackle the waste crisis.
Samantha Harding, litter programme director at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said: “We stand united with campaigners from all across the globe, calling for world-wide deposit return systems to tackle the environmental crisis caused by drinks containers.
“With global sales approaching two trillion, it is clear that the consumption of drinks cans, bottles and cartons has reached epidemic proportions.
“Without immediate action, our countryside and environment will continue to pay the price for the careless actions of those producing these products.
“As the UK government edges closer to a decision on the type of deposit return system that will be introduced here in England, it is imperative that the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, ensures that we get the best possible system,” she urged.
Campaigners from the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland and the Marine Conservation Society also joined in the global protest with an event at Cramond Beach in Edinburgh.
Campaigners in New Zealand, Australia, China, India, Iran, Latvia, Norway, Argentina, the US, Canada and Mexico are among those calling for the introduction of schemes in countries which do not have them and extending them where they already exist to cover all cans, bottles and cartons.