We have treated the world’s oceans as a rubbish dump for years and the effects on the natural world have been grotesque. Millions of us have seen Blue Planet and even if we didn’t know about the problem before, we do now.

But we still continue to dump 12 million tonnes of plastic into the oceans every year. One floating plastic island, in the Pacific, is larger than France – and growing.

Nationally, we are finally seeing some action. The plastic bag charge, which I’m proud to say was championed by school children from numerous local schools has led to a 90 per cent reduction in the number of bags used. But we need do much more.

The only long term solution is to design waste out of the system. There’s no excuse for retailers to use as much packaging as they do, or for manufacturers to make products that cannot be recycled or repaired. The retailers are a part of the problem, but they could so easily become part of the solution.

I am supporting a new national campaign by the charity Surfers Against Sewage calling for a Plastic Free Parliament. Over 2 million avoidable single-use plastic items like plastic straws and stirrers, coffee cups and lids, plastic cutlery and water bottles were purchased by the House of Commons in 2017.

Locally, I’m proud of the steps being taken by Richmond Council to cut plastic waste. The campaign, led by Councillor Pamela Fleming will mean no more bottled water at Council meetings, getting businesses to weed out the use of single use plastics and supporting community groups to clear plastic waste, particularly on the Riverside.

We all have a role to play, and I encourage readers to do all they can to press their local restaurants, bars and supermarkets to do their bit to wean our community off plastic.