”We’ve all seen the huge impact single-use plastics are having on our environment. We know a truckload of plastic is entering our oceans every minute, with rivers and watercourses acting as the highways for plastic waste pollution out to sea. We already have a proven track record of standing against plastic wastefulness. Our successful RiverCare and BeachCare programme, run in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy sees volunteers from across the region coming together to rid their local rivers and beaches from litter and plastics. Over the past year 45 groups have volunteered over 21,000 hours, collecting more than 50 tonnes of litter, much of it plastic from our rivers and beaches. Launching this ambitious pledge against plastics, on World Ocean’s Day is the perfect opportunity to put our stake in the ground about how we as a business will play a part in tackling the plastics problem across the whole region. The scope of this taskforce goes beyond what people might traditionally think of as being the responsibility of a water company, but it’s important to our customers and the right thing to do. So we want to trial things like working with clothes manufacturers on how we might be able to design better materials that don’t shed plastic fibres, or with white goods companies about developing better filters on washing machines that capture plastic particles from our clothes. The group will even look at finding new ways of reusing discarded plastics or those filtered from the water treatment processes to make them into a valuable commodity once again. Saying it’s difficult is not good enough and we can’t do this alone, which is why we want to bring the right people together to better understand and tackle the problem from beginning to end."