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Port operator joins fight to tackle plastic pollution

Simon Clarke MP (right) with David Jones, group health, safety and environment manager at PD Ports

THE British Plastics Federation (BPF) has revealed that Teesport has become the first UK port to commit to stopping plastic pellets leaking into the sea, after operator PD Ports signed up to the Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) initiative.

The project, run in the UK by the BPF, introduces measures to keep plastic ‘nurdles’ away from rivers and seas.

Simon Clarke, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, presented the OCS certificate to PD Ports at a BPF reception at the House of Commons. He said, “Today’s news is a major step forward in the fight against plastic pollution, and will delight the hundreds of my constituents who take part in regular beach cleans at Saltburn and along our local rivers and streams. The British Plastics Federation is doing wonderful work tackling this scourge, and PD Ports deserve great credit for engaging swiftly and decisively as the first UK port to sign up to Operation Clean Sweep.

“Plastics have a crucial role in our economy but it is vital they are produced and transported in a responsible fashion.  I hope other UK ports will now follow Teesport’s lead – both our own and future generations will have reason to thank them if they do.”

The BPF said Operation Clean Sweep has already been implemented in over 250 UK sites, mostly plastics manufacturing plants. However, this announcement represents a shift to include other companies involved in the supply chain.

PD Ports chief operating officer and vice chairman Jerry Hopkinson added, “As a port, we already have a number of initiatives in place to work with river users to reduce plastic making its way into our environment and our work with the British Plastics Federation reinforces our commitment. Plastics are clearly important for a number of purposes, but it’s important that we all take responsibility for how they are managed and disposed of, so as to not be detrimental to the planet.”

Philip Law, director general of the BPF said, “The British Plastics Federation is proud that PD Ports is the first UK port to sign up to Operation Clean Sweep. We highly value Simon Clarke MP’s involvement in helping to achieve this important landmark. Many manufacturers and logistics operators are putting their weight behind Operation Clean Sweep and we urge other organisations that handle plastic raw materials to follow the fine example set by PD Ports.”

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