Our Plastic Problem: Voices from the grassroots

January 17th, 2018

The Green Party’s Waste Reduction Bill underwent detailed scrutiny at the Dail’s Environmental Committee this afternoon

The Bill proposes to ban disposable plastic plates, cups and other types of tableware. It also attempts to introduce a deposit and refund scheme for drinks containers.

As the Bill was being debated, concerned citizens and environmental groups gathered today outside the Dail to give their support to the Bill and voice their concern about our plastics problem.

Felipe Wasserman talked with some of the main movers and shakers leading the movement to bring an end to the scourge of plastic waste littering our streets, rural roads and coastal beaches.

Photo: Sorcha McManigan

Dr Cara Augustenberg from Friends of the Earth said that she is “really tired of plastic waste in Ireland and I`m pretty excited for the Waste Reduction Bill that is under consideration today because it represents Ireland’s first step on doing something regarding the plastic crisis that is affecting both Ireland and the whole world.”

“People are really in favour of doing something about plastic right now, and the government has shown across all parties that they support the idea of tackling plastic. So now is the moment to really see if they are serious about that and if they are going to be ambitious, or if they are gonna be bought out by corporate interests,” Dr Augustenberg added.

She wants to see ”supermarkets taking a lead on reducing the number of plastics on goods because they can force other companies to change their packaging into recyclable packagings.”

Diane Forsyth and her daughter Astrid (3) Photo: Sorcha McManigan

Diane Forsyth, a citizen who started a popular petition for the need for a deposit return scheme said that she was at the protest today “mostly because I started this petition and I want the opportunity to give it to the chair  of the Committee of the Environment, and I want them to pass the Waste Reduction Bill in full.”

“I’m very hopeful we will go forward with this. We’ve got cross-party support up until this stage and we are now at committee stage. Hopefully this will be the final push to the the legislation.”

She thinks companies are key to reducing plastic on goods. “There is a lot of citizen action, but it is not enough, unless we start reducing it at a corporate level.”

Pippa Hackett, Green Party candidate for Laois-Offaly Photo: Sorcha McManigan

Pippa Hackett, from the Green Party and an election candidate for the Laois-Offaly area came up to Dublin “to support this campaign and to support the bill.” “It’s a no-brainer if you ask me. It’s just makes perfect sense. I don’t know how anyone could disagree with it,” she added.

“I think the government would be foolish to reject [the Bill]. They should really support it as people are sick of plastic at this stage.”

“We do our best at home to reduce the plastic we use, but it is really hard because almost everything is made of plastic. Companies should be looking for other options.”

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