School kids tell big companies to do more to tackle plastic pollution

Last updated at 07:39
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WATCH: School kids call on big companies to do more about plastic pollution

School kids in Dorset are asking big companies around the world to "stop selling items of single-use plastic into developing countries".

It's as part of a campaign by UK charity Tearfund, which claims people in some countries are forced to dump or burn the plastic.

The children have been writing letters to Coca Cola, Nestle, Unilever and PepsiCo telling them to make the changes.

The charity says a report published in May, found that each year between 400,000 and a million people die in developing countries from diseases and illnesses caused by plastic pollution and uncollected rubbish dumped or burnt near homes.

The report was backed by Sir David Attenborough who is a vice president at Fauna & Flora International - a conservation charity also involved in the research.

He said "it's one of the first to highlight the impacts of plastic pollution...on world's poorest people".

Coca-cola told us that it's taking action in other countries, for example a project in Indonesia to help stop plastics leaking into the ocean: "All around the world and everywhere we sell our drinks, we have made a promise that by 2030 we will collect back and recycle or reuse all our bottles and cans, so that they don't end up as litter or in the oceans."

Unilever told Newsround it had this message: "We're really pleased to hear you're so passionate about tackling plastic waste - so are we! We have committed to halve our use of new plastic in our packaging in just five years. This will include removing some plastic packaging completely - imagine if instead of buying a new bottle of shampoo you could simply refill, or what about trying a shampoo bar? We've also said we'll collect back and process more plastic packaging than we sell by 2025."

plastic-bottles-on-beach.Getty Images

A PepsiCo spokesperson told Newsround: "Protecting the environment is really important to us. We'll be changing all our packaging, across the whole world, so everything is either recyclable, compostable or biodegradable."

A Nestlé spokesperson said: "As a company, we are working really hard to make all of our packaging, including plastics, recyclable or reusable by 2025...Part of our work focuses on becoming 'plastic neutral' in countries where recycling infrastructure isn't available, and likely won't be for some years to come. This means that for every piece of packaged product we sell, we will collect the equivalent packaging back."

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