Stratford schoolgirl's plea to Prime Minister Boris Johnson over Covid masks
TEENAGER Kate England was so shocked at the number of facemasks being discarded during the pandemic that she took matters into her own hands – by going directly to the man at the top.
The 14-year-old Stratford School pupil has written to Boris Johnson to make her views on the issue known.
Kate, from Wellesbourne, has been litter-picking in the village as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Award, along with her mum Lisa.
After picking a busy stretch of road at the weekend, the pair discovered a shocking number of masks in addition to a large amount of other litter.
Kate said: “Along with all the crisp packets and alcohol bottles we found 14 masks – it was disgusting really.
“I hope the prime minister will address the nation on this. I know we’re in a global pandemic, but this kind of behaviour just makes things worse.
“We’ve seen a massive increase in pollution during the pandemic and animals can get injured and die because of this type of rubbish – it’s horrible. I really hope Boris will do something about this and consider the long-term impact on the environment.”
Lisa added: “We litter-picked a stretch along the main road in Wellesbourne and Kate was so shocked and sad about the amount of masks we found. I really hope she at least gets a response from Boris on this.”
In the autumn the issue was raised by opposition parties, who called on the government to do more to encourage people to switch from disposable face masks to reusable ones.
Disposable masks contain plastics which pollute the water and can harm wildlife, which may eat or become entangled in them.
Responding to Kate’s message to the prime minister, Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi said: “Littering is never acceptable for the reasons set out in the letter, whether it is used PPE or otherwise. Society is using a lot more PPE than normal at the moment and unfortunately there is little we can do about this in the short-term due to the need to protect people’s health and prevent transmission.
“But this should not dilute our existing commitments to tackling single-use plastics. Guidance has been published on the gov.uk website about how to correctly dispose of waste during the coronavirus pandemic and how to make, wash and reuse cloth face coverings to prevent and reduce plastic waste.
“I am sure that the prime minister, health secretary or environment secretary would be very happy to reiterate these messages publicly and I have no doubt that the prime minister will respond to the letter constructively.”