WHAT is it about so many politicians that makes them so willing to ignore the state of our environment and the climate crisis?

Why is it that time and time again, when any measures are suggested to help us tackle the biggest danger to our children’s futures, we are left facing opposition at every turn?

Last year, it was about single-use plastic, today it is about the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

Tomorrow it will no doubt be about something else.

The scheme is very simple. We will pay a 20p deposit when buying a drink, but once we are finished with our cans or bottles, we can simply take them to one of the thousands of return points that will be available and then claim 20p back.

This week, my Scottish Green colleague Lorna Slater announced that the company that produces 95% of all drink containers made and sold in Scotland has signed up for the scheme.

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This is a huge step forward for recycling and our environment. Just imagine that the next time you look into the drinks fridge in your local shop. Almost everything you see will be covered by our scheme.

Everyone can see the cans and bottles that are blighting our streets and our communities and the desperate need for this scheme. Right now, 34,000 plastic bottles are littered every day in Scotland alone. The scheme will change that.

Each and every time we go outside, we can see the evidence of the UK’s throw-away culture. The cans in the streets and in our rivers, the bottles smashed and discarded around our parks and on public transport, the discarded rubbish on our beaches.

From our city centres to our housing estates, our mountains to our seas, cans and bottles are discarded across the country when they could easily be reused.

It is part of the tidal wave of litter that has blighted our communities for too long.

The DRS will do so much to change that. It will allow us to reclaim our streets, clean up our communities and force those that profit from this mess and pollution to step up and show some genuine responsibility.

The opposition has been predictable and coordinated.

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Right-leaning politicians and profit-driven corporations have been all too happy to behave like lemmings leaping into the sea rather than face up to their responsibilities.

I’ve spent more than a decade in politics and this scheme is the most important single action that any Scottish Government has taken to save the environment.

I am exceptionally proud that it is being delivered by a Green minister.

It is why our Parliament voted so overwhelmingly to set it up three years ago. It is why so many environmental groups and campaigners are so excited.

It is an ambitious scheme and will be a turning point for our relationship with recycling. I am confident that it will provide a model for how successfully deposit return schemes can operate across the UK.

This policy has been years in the making. It has been scrutinised and adapted, delayed and changed and had funding made along the way to support businesses who, despite having vested interests, needed help in adapting to a better way to deal with their waste.

Yet even those attempts to work with and support the small business who asked for the DRS have been weaponised by opponents. They have chosen half-truths, misinformation and panic over constructive engagement.

Then there is the Internal Market Act, a legal process introduced by Westminster to effectively veto some of the most important decisions MSPs take at Holyrood.

You cannot help but conclude that the Tories are attempting to vandalise this and other schemes put forward by our government, to undermine and erode the authority of our parliament, devolution and our democracy.

There has been a lot of speculation about Westminster considering a veto on this scheme. To do so would be to ride roughshod three years after it was approved by Parliament and after businesses have invested hundreds of millions of pounds. This would not just be bad for the environment – it would threaten our democracy.

A mere stroke of Alister Jack’s pen would destroy hundreds of jobs and be devastating for those who have invested and got ready. It would undermine our efforts to save the planet. And anyone who stands with him would be equally culpable.

The idea that the Tories would put political interest before the climate crisis, the most urgent danger we all face, is perhaps nothing new. We have witnessed time and time again how countless Tory governments at Westminster have wreaked havoc on Scotland.

Yet this is different. This isn’t just about the litter on our streets, the glass in our parks, the jobs that could be won or lost, or the threat to democracy. This is about our children. Because if we are stopped from recycling, what hope is there to make even greater changes that are needed to save the planet?