June 14th, 2018
Irish politicians lined up at Buswells Hotel yesterday to receive reusable coffee cups from the Sick of Plastic campaign and show their support for a Green Party Bill to tackle waste.
Over 50 TDs were presented with ‘keep cups’ at the event yesterday by member of their constituencies, with whom they discussed the Green’s Waste Reduction Bill and the issues posed by plastic pollution.
Launched in June 2017, the Bill outlines plans for an outright ban on single-use non-recyclable plastics such as coffee cups and plastic cutlery by 2020.
Within Europe, Ireland is currently the top producer of plastic waste, producing 61kg of plastic waste per person each year.
The Bill is also seeking to introduce a deposit rate on aluminium and plastic bottles that would be refunded to the consumer when brought back to the store for recycling.
The Sick of Plastic campaign is coordinated by VOICE Ireland and Friends of the Earth Ireland, whose director, Oisin Coughlan said that the supporters present showed the TDs that they want the Bill passed.
According to Friends of the Earth, over 200 people from every constituency in Ireland made donations to the campaign to purchase the Keep Cups.
The campaign also called on supporters to ask their elected representatives to appeal to the Minister for the Environment, Denis Naughten, TD to support the Bill.
The Oireachtas Environment Committee voted last month on the Waste Reduction Bill at which the Minister proposed an amendment to give him the discretion to introduce a DRS following a potential pilot-scheme in Cashel, Co Tipperary.
The Committee voted seven to five against the Minister’s amendment, however, and the current wording of the Bill states that it would be mandatory to bring in the scheme if the Bill is passed.
Heather Leeson, presenting a keep cup to Fianna Fail’s Jim O’Callaghan Photo: Aoife CusackDr Cara Augustenborg of Friends of the Earth said that she was “amazed” at how many people across the country backed the campaign.
The UCD lecturer said that the response is “evidence” of strong public sentiment to tackle plastic pollution.
“We’ve created an opportunity for people to directly express their concerns on this issue to their TDs while also putting a practical solution to plastic pollution directly in their TDs’ hands by giving them a Keep Cup.”
Heather Leeson, a volunteer who recently became involved with Friends of the Earth, attended the event and presented a keep cup to Fianna Fail’s Jim O’Callaghan.
“It was great to be able to chat to Jim O’Callaghan about his interest in supporting the plastic reduction bill, today shows there is a lot of political goodwill towards the Bill,” she said.
She told The Green News that she was inspired to make the trip to Dublin as she wants to help in ”preserving the environment for my kids, and for their kids”.