Everyone from producers, to consumers to businesses must play their part in the fight against plastic.
Aurvey from Irish Business Against Litter (Ibal) showed that less that one in ten beaches are litter-free. The survey also found that 40% of rivers, beaches and harbours are litter zones.
It is so sad to see beautiful places like Cork Harbour, Bundoran and Doolin Pier in Clare are litter blackspots. We have such a beautiful country that we can’t allow it to be destroyed by litter. We put a lot of pride in keeping towns around Ireland clean but we must do the same for the beaches and rivers.
There is a responsibility on us as users of plastic to ensure we use it responsibly and there is also a focus on producers to ensure that plastic is easier to reuse and recycle.
Plastic production is 20 times higher now than in the 1960s and is set to quadruple again by 2050. We cannot continue to produce and use this amount of plastic, which is impacting hugely on our environment.
Reducing the amount of plastics in our oceans and on our beaches is vital to protect marine life and also to ensure that fish, and as a result the food chain, are not further contaminated by plastics.
Ireland has led the way on the fight against plastic when it introduced the levy on plastic bags in 2002, resulting in a 90% drop in the use of plastic bags in Ireland. We must continue to drive the agenda, particularly as an island nation, surrounded by magnificent fishing waters and beautiful beaches, to change habits when it comes to plastics in our lives.