Recycling must not go to waste

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TO THIS country’s credit, recycling rates have risen from a measly 11 per cent at the beginning of a century to 43 per cent according to newly-published statistics. Yet, despite this progress, Britain still lags behind the rest of Europe – and the EU’s desire for more than two-thirds of unwanted goods to be recycled by 2030.

TO THIS country’s credit, recycling rates have risen from a measly 11 per cent at the beginning of a century to 43 per cent according to newly-published statistics. Yet, despite this progress, Britain still lags behind the rest of Europe – and the EU’s desire for more than two-thirds of unwanted goods to be recycled by 2030.

There are two underlying reasons for this – complacency on the part of householders who have become resistant to the overtures of officialdom and the simple fact that local authorities simply do not have the resources to provide a recycling service commensurate with the expectations.

It is epitomised by the dogmatic desire of Keighley-born Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, for councils to retain weekly collections of general waste when many town halls have concluded that a fortnightly service is the more prudent from a financial – and recycling – perspective.

Greater clarity of thought, and purpose, from Ministers is needed if more householders are to become aware of their wider obligations to society and the environment. Longer warranties for electrical items may also persuade some householders to buy new televisions more sparingly.

Yet it is the level of food waste and leftovers where there are the greatest opportunities to change habits and end the ‘disposable society’. Just a tiny of proportion of the 7.2 million tonnes of food items thrown away each year are given to charities or those working with the less fortunate – even though a significant quantity of unwanted groceries do appear to stem from confusion about terminology like “best before”. Given that Mr Pickles did support David Cameron’s notion of a “Big Society”, perhaps the onus is on him to reward those shops which agree to collect unwanted food and distribute it to the needy. It would be a start.

Industry of deceit

Marriage sham must be halted

THE reason why instances of sham marriages are on the increase across Yorkshire is a simple one – the people concerned will go to extraordinary lengths to circumvent Britain’s immigration rules.

The numbers concerned are not trivial. According to the Home Affairs Select Committee which has investigated the matter, an estimated 10,000 wedding ceremonies are conducted each year in Britain under false pretences.

In many respects, Ministers will say these statistics are a vindication of their continuing efforts to cut illegal immigration and the loopholes left unchecked by the last Labour government.

Yet the fact of the matter is that the organisation of sham marriages is “an industry of deceit” – the stark conclusion of the committee’s chairman Keith Vaz – which is being allowed to grow at an alarming rate.

As is so often the case when it comes to the oversight of the Home Office, Mr Vaz is right. Marriage is a precious institution that must not be hijacked by those who seek to make a mockery of the law because the Government is divorced from reality.

It is why the law should be changed as a matter of urgency so registrars can cancel a wedding if they believe the ceremony is a sham – they should not have to wait for the Home Office’s enforcement team to swing into action. It should also be far easier to deport those individuals who participate in sham weddings. Both are helpful suggestions that need to be embraced by Home Secretary Theresa May. After all, it is the Tory party which still believes, passionately, in the institution of marriage.

Respect the water

RNLI calls for safety sea-change

EVEN THOUGH the North Sea is at its most beguiling as the East Coast basks in Mediterranean-like temperatures, hidden dangers are still prevalent under the gentle waves rippling against the shore.

It is a stark fact reflected in the latest statistics to be published by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution as it launches a timely new campaign called Respect the Water.

Nearly 170 people died in water-related accidents last year off the coast of Britain, the highest number in four years. Yet this death toll would be even higher without the professionalism of those volunteer RNLI lifeboat crews whose courage and commitment is invariably taken for granted.

As well as heeding common sense safety advice, such as not swimming while intoxicated, holiday-makers should also support the RNLI’s fundraising activities. Without these enduring efforts, Yorkshire’s coastline would be even more dangerous – irrespective of the weather.

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