June 14th, 2018
The vast majority of Irish citizens are concerned with plastic pollution and its impact on our waters across the country, a new survey reveals.
The survey was carried out by the Sky Ocean Rescue team who yesterday launched an Irish branch of their campaign to raise awareness of the impact of plastics on ocean health and marine life.
Survey results show that 85 per cent of Irish people are concerned with the country’s plastic usage and more than 80 per cent believe plastic pollution is impacting local lakes and rivers on a daily basis.
The average Irish person is estimated to produce around sixty-one kilograms of plastic waste every year, making Ireland the EU’s biggest plastic polluter.
It is estimated that more than 22 million plastic bottles are purchased in Ireland every week, which would stretch the distance between Dublin and Boston if laid out end-to-end.
Speaking to The Green News, Mindy O’Brien, the coordinator of the national Sick of Plastic campaign, said that the survey results show that “Irish people want a change”.
“They want less plastic packaging and they want industry and the Government to take substantive action to remove single-use plastics from the stream of commerce.
“Sky Ocean Rescue has a huge media reach and we applaud their commitment to stop plastic pollution,” she added.
Sky Ocean Rescue
Sky Ocean Rescue was launched in Ireland to encourage people to “make easy, simple changes” to stop our island from being “surrounded by plastic”, according to JD Buckley, the Managing Director of Sky Ireland.
“Research tells us that 85 per cent of people are concerned with plastic usage in Ireland and as one of the top producers of plastic waste, it’s time to pass on plastic and do what we can to protect our oceans,” he added.
The initiative is focused on reaching out to the public, aiming to raise awareness of single-use plastic, as well as persuading the Irish people to change their behaviour.
Sky Ocean Rescue Ireland introduced Poly, a whale made of single-use plastic, to raise the Irish public’s awareness on the amount of plastic that is thrown into the ocean and coastlines every day.
Sky Ocean Rescue has also committed to becoming free from single-use plastic in all its operations by 2020 and has already begun implementing environmentally sustainable practices at work.
“All our employees were given a ‘keep cup’ this week and single-use coffee cups were removed from our canteen,” said Seán Power, the Sky Ireland facilities lead.
“We’re now using 1,000 fewer cups a day as a direct result. I hope the launch today is successful in raising more awareness of this issue and inspiring others to make similar changes,” he added.
Michael Creed, the Minister for the Marine, said that he strongly supports Sky’s campaign and urged large corporations to “invest more in research and development for sustainable and biodegradable packaging”.
Mr Creed added that action to tackle marine litter is necessary to protect the “greatest national resource” that Ireland has to offer – “the sea that surrounds our island”.
The Minister has come under criticism over Irish fisheries quota negotiations in recent months, while the Government was also criticised for its opposition to a Green Party motion calling on the State to protect at least 50 per cent of Ireland’s coasts and seas.
In a new report released last week to coincide with World Oceans Day, the Irish Wildlife Trust stated that Ireland has failed to establish a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to the levels required under EU law.
Ireland has an international target of protecting 10 per cent of waters by 2020 and 30 per cent by 2030. Currently, just over two per cent of Irish waters are protected, the second lowest percentage in Europe.