Waterford politician accuses government of grandstanding over single-use plastics
Waterford Senator Grace O'Sullivan has said the government can do more to cut the use of plastics despite Minister Richard Bruton introducing a ban on disposable plastic in government departments and agencies.
The Green Party is calling on the government to support a wider ban on single-use plastics which they say would have a substantially greater impact
"The party feel that this initiative to ban disposable plastic in government departments and agencies is designed to maximise media impact rather than real-world impact – like much of the government’s empty rhetoric on climate change," a statement read.
"The best way for the government to tackle the problem of plastic pollution would be to support the single-use plastics ban which is contained in the Green Party’s Waste Reduction Bill," the party said.
The Green Party bill is proposing a ban on single-use plastics and the introduction of a deposit and return scheme for bottles. "These initiatives would substantially reduce some of the biggest offenders when it comes to plastic pollution," they claimed.
Senator Grace O’Sullivan, Green Party Waterford-based MEP candidate for Ireland South, said:
“In so many ways this government initiative is long overdue. Of course, any movement in the right direction is welcome but this government level ban on single-use plastics is the lowest of the low hanging fruit."
“To claim this an example of leadership is, by any standards, wrong. The government is massively behind the curve on plastic pollution and resource efficiency. When it comes to green procurement the EU advice on this was published over a decade ago, their own guidelines are four years old and when it comes to resource efficiency plans many, many Irish businesses have been doing this for well over ten years," she added.
“But most importantly, we must point out that, the government are well behind the public on this. Very many people around Ireland are appalled by the growing plastic pollution problem. Take a walk on any beach and you will find unwanted plastic, look at the hedgerows on the way in and out of any town and you will find a shameful amount of plastic waste."
“People have been fighting this through the emergence of zero waste initiatives and clean-ups at local level through Tidy Towns, Coastwatch, and other groups. The government must acknowledge this growing concern and do more to stem this tide of pollution," she continued.
“These proposals are weak. We are willing to collaborate, and the scale of crisis demands it, but we need much more ambition. The easiest way to do this is to support the Green Party’s Waste Reduction Bill which, if made law, would have a real impact.”