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Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park, has urged students to write to their MPs to express their concern about the amount of waste produced by households and businesses across the UK.
He said that the issue of waste and recycling was a low priority for most MPs because their constituents do not lobby them enough about it.
The Conservative MP made the comments after a screening of Trashed – a film about the global waste problem starring Jeremy Irons – at King’s College School in Wimbledon.
He said: “This should be a top priority in Parliament but it isn’t. It is so far down the agenda that if we were to have a debate on this issue you would probably only have six or seven MPs turn up.
“I think it is partly the consequence of you, collectively, not lobbying your MPs to take this issue on board. There is not nearly enough energy being directed to MPs about these issues.”
Mr Goldsmith, who is an active campaigner on green causes, said that the damage to the natural environment caused by waste is the biggest crisis faced by humanity.
He used the example of the campaign against the disposal of dead or dying fish by trawlers to meet EU quotas – a practise that is now largely banned – to argue for more action.
“No one really cares about fish, yet nearly a million people wrote to their MPs and said we want you to do something about the fact that half of the fish caught in our oceans are thrown back into the water dead or dying.
“If you can mobilise a million people to care about cod and haddock and things like that, then I think you can mobilise people to care about the global waste problem.”