Alison Steadman: ‘Stop using plastic bags!’

Alison Steadman is planning a documentary to raise awareness of the devastating impact that carrier bags have on the environment.

The actress, whose travelogue Alison Steadman’s Shetland screens on ITV later this month and sees her explore the islands’ varied natural history, told TV & Satellite Week that she is desperate to show people how destructive plastic is to wildlife.

“I really feel passionate about it and I would love to do a programme about the way we are polluting the environment with tonnes of plastic so I am trying to get it off the ground, but it is not easy,” says Alison, who is a dedicated bird-watcher and a patron of RSPB.

“It is about education and making people realise what these bags are doing to our planet and how the molecules of plastic never disappear or biodegrade. Plastic bottles and bags are washed into the sea and you see seabirds are suffocating, fish are starving to death because their stomachs can’t digest plastic and even a turtle was washed up in Mexico that had 280 carrier bags in its stomach. When I hear things like that I just think, ‘You have got to stop’.”

However, she believes that the bill announced in this week’s Queen’s speech at the State Opening of Parliament, which will introduce a charge of 5p per bag in supermarkets from October next year, will not many nearly enough of a difference.

“It will help a tiny fraction for a while and then people will say, ‘5p is not that much when I have just spent 100 quid on my shopping.’ If they were charging £5.50 a bag that would stop them, but 5p won’t,” says Alison. “Nobody has got the courage to really do anything about it. I talked to my local shopkeepers and asked, ‘Why do you give your carrier bags out for one item?’ and They say, ‘If I don’t, the person will stop coming to my shop and will go somewhere else’.”

For the full interview and to find out more about Alison Steadman’s Shetland, read TV & Satellite Week on sale on Tuesday 17th June.