Sinn Féin to back Plastic Free Waterford campaign – McGuinness

Sinn Féin will give their support to the Plastic Free Waterford campaign group according to the party’s area representative Conor D. McGuinness.

The campaign seeks to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated in Waterford through influencing public policy, promoting alternatives to single-use plastics and education.

McGuinness said, “single-use plastic is fast becoming the number one pollutant in the world. Plastic bags, bottles, straws and cups are the worst offenders and often end up in the sea and on our beaches. A recent study undertaken by researchers at NUI Galway found that over 70% of fish sampled, from Irish coastal waters to the middle of the Atlantic, had ingested plastic. Not only is plastic pollution littering our beaches, but it is having wide-reaching and long-term effects on our eco-system and the food chain.

“One million plastic drink bottles are used every minute world-wide and only 10% of these are recycled. Ireland has he second highest plastic bottle consumption in the EU, around 155 bottles per person per year. Coffee cups are usually lined with plastic, which prevents them being recycled. Much of the plastic packaging our groceries come in is not recyclable and ends up in landfill or worse,” he said.

“There are steps that can be taken at a local level to address the situation and the Plastic Free Waterford have asked that in the first instance we reduce the amount of single-use plastic products we use, and re-use and recycle as much as possible after that.”

The campaign is also calling on Waterford City and County Council to play its part and to take five simple steps:

Council meetings and activities should not use single-use plastics e.g. bottled water at meetings;

Water fountains should be installed at key locations throughout the city and county so people can refill their water bottles;

The Council should support an EU ban on plastic packaging and plastic straws;

Council-funded events should include the elimination of single-use plastics in their sustainability plans;

Recycling bins for plastic waste should be installed across Waterford.

“Sinn Féin will be supporting this proposal to improve the Council’s policy on single-use plastics and to show leadership in tackling this problem. For more information find Plastic Free Waterford on Facebook,” he said.

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Notes:

Plastic Free Waterford was launched earlier this summer and is a campaign of the Waterford One World Centre. They have gathered signatures for a petition to Waterford City and County Council and it is expected a motion asking the Council to adopt five measures will be taken this week. September 10th-16th marks the inaugural Plastic Free Waterford Week.