Advertiser letters: Plastic waste and organ donation

One of 20 sites along Thames waterfront where plastic bottles get washed up. Picture: THAMES 21

One of 20 sites along Thames waterfront where plastic bottles get washed up. Picture: THAMES 21 - Credit: Thames 21

Letters, contributions and comments sent in to the Advertiser this week.

Tackling plastic wastage

Syed Kamall, Conservative MEP for London, writes:

Thanks to some great journalism and film-making, London and the world are waking up to the threat posed to the planet - and our own health - by plastic waste.

However, when we see images of mountains of plastic washed up on beaches thousands of miles away, or fish poisoned by micro-beads that have turned parts of the ocean into plastic soups, it may be tempting to think that the problem is just too big to tackle, or too far away.

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The truth is that our actions as individuals will make a difference in tackling a global problem. We can start cleaning up the planet by starting in our own communities.

I was very impressed by the story of five-year-old Ava James who persuaded Pizza Express to ban plastic straws after writing to them saying they will make animals “sick”. It shows how we can all make a difference.

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So I reckon that as Londoners, the best way we can look after the world’s oceans is to start with our own lifestyles, our own waste and our own waterways.

If we can tackle plastic waste in the River Thames, as individuals or as communities or by supporting campaigns such as The Cleaner Thames campaign, perhaps the oceans will stand a chance too.

Organ donation vote welcomed

Dr John Chisholm, chairman British Medical Association (BMA) medical ethics committee, writes:

For the thousands of people waiting on an organ in England and their family and friends, the news that MPs voted in favour of a change in the law towards presumed consent will be very welcome.

After many years of tireless campaigning, this is a positive step given that over the past decade, over 800 people in Greater London have died while awaiting an organ transplant and every day, there is a similar picture throughout the rest of the UK, as too many people are needlessly die each year awaiting an organ.

A BMA poll revealed that two-thirds of people wish to donate their organs when they die. However, the current obstacles in the system mean that every year hundreds of people miss out on life-saving treatment because families don’t know their loved ones’ wishes.

For those who object to organ donation, the change in the law should enable them to opt out quickly and easily.

Ultimately, an opt-out system will maximise the number of lives that can be saved by making it easier for those wishing to donate to do so - something that will be a source of comfort and hope for many.

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