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Extinction Rebellion to target Wimbledon over single-use plastics

The activists say their issue is not with tennis but with the single-use plastic in its sponsors’ products.

Extinction Rebellion will demonstrate at Wimbledon against plastic waste (Niall Carson/PA)
Extinction Rebellion will demonstrate at Wimbledon against plastic waste (Niall Carson/PA)

Extinction Rebellion have Wimbledon in their sights for the next stage of their climate campaign.

The activists say their issue is with the excessive use of single-use plastics rather than the event itself.

The group successfully blockaded several parts of London earlier this year, including Parliament Square, Oxford Circus and Waterloo Bridge.

Extinction Rebellion are due to arrive at the All England Lawn Tennis Club at 2pm on Sunday – the day before the tournament starts – to begin their campaign.

The action will be peaceful - in line with everything Extinction Rebellion does. Extinction Rebellion

The main focus of their latest campaign are drinks companies Evian and Robinsons, whom they claim are adding to the climate crisis.

Evian has vowed to become a circular company by 2025 and is using this year’s tournament to launch its new 100% recycled water bottle.

Extinction Rebellion said: “Our message is simple. No more plastic bottles. No more single-use plastics – it’s naive to think we can recycle our way out of this problem.”

It added: “[Evian and Robinsons] are adding to the unacceptable proliferation of single-use plastic waste that threatens biodiversity in our oceans and contributes to climate chaos.”

Extinction Rebellion branded the products of both companies “unnecessary”.

A spokesman for the group told PA: “The action will be peaceful – in line with everything Extinction Rebellion does.

“It is targeting sponsors such as Evian and Robinsons and it is not intended to disrupt the tennis or interfere with fans but it will be very visible – we are fans of tennis, it’s just single-use plastic and bottled water that we object to.”

Backing the demonstration, celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who co-hosted the recent BBC documentary War On Plastic, said: “Plastic production has doubled since the year 2000, and it’s accelerating.

“If this trend continues, then by 2050, plastic production will be responsible for 15% of global carbon emissions.

“The Ineos plastic manufacturing plant in Grangemouth uses the same amount of electricity as Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen combined just to keep it running, plus huge quantities of fossil fuels, which are used to manufacture nearly all plastics.

“Recycling isn’t enough. If we want the Earth and its seas to remain habitable, we need to radically reduce the amount of plastic we use – and particularly single-use plastics.”

There has been growing public anxiety about the mountains of plastic waste making its way to the ocean – triggered in part by Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II which aired last year.

There are a number of initiatives at Wimbledon this year to reduce plastic, including extra recycling bins and “eco champions” on the ground to encourage visitors to recycle.

The Met Police have been approached for comment on Extinction Rebellion’s plans.

PA

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