Scottish summit on marine litter announced

marine litter plastics

On the 7th of February, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Roseanna Cunningham, addressed the Scottish Parliament on the use and waste of plastic.  In a ministerial statement entitled “stemming the plastic tide”, the Cabinet Secretary told Holyrood that there is an increasing recognition of the damage single-use plastics are doing domestically and globally and that a more evidence-based approach is needed to successfully tackle the issue.

Some of the highlights of the statement include:

  • The appointment of a disability adviser to the expert panel to be set up, as part of the Programme for Government commitment to provide advice on action to help reduce use of single use items.
  • A consultation on options for the deposit return system, later this summer.The hosting of an OSPAR Intersessional Correspondence Group for Marine Litter, bringing together international scientists, later this year.
  • As announced in the Programme for Government, there will be an international conference held in 2019 to discuss collective action on Marine Litter.
  • On 18 June, Roseanna Cunningham will host a national summit on marine litter in Oban. The summit will bring together manufacturers and retailers, marine and environmental stakeholders and coastal communities who are most affected by marine litter. The summit will aim to raise awareness, increase understanding of the issue and help identify and develop actions to tackle it.

Prior to the session, Marine Conservation Society (MCS) gave the Cabinet Secretary a report highlighting the extent of the problem of drinks bottle and can littering across Scotland following the charity’s #wildbottlesightings campaign.

Catherine Gemmell, MCS Scotland Conservation Officer said: “Ocean Plastics have been on the front pages of newspapers, discussed on radio stations and shown on television shows more times than we can now count so it is fantastic to see the issue being brought to the front and centre in the Scottish Parliament.”

“We have seen great progress in Scotland toward reducing beach litter including developing a Marine Litter Strategy; the 5p carrier bag charge; the commitment to a deposit return system for bottles and cans and this year a proposal to ban plastic cotton bud stems.”

“However, with easy alternatives to single use plastic straws, coffee cups, cutlery and food trays, much more can be done by Government, industry and individuals.”

Read the full ministerial statement and the related MCS article.

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