Published: Fri, 12 April 2019
MEP for Ireland South and Leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament, Seán Kelly, has highlighted the need to eliminate Ireland’s excessive plastic waste problem, during his public meeting in Clare this week.
Speaking from Clare today (Friday) the Ireland-South MEP highlighted the importance of raising citizens’ awareness on this pressing issue.
“Up to half a million tonnes of plastics end up in our oceans every year. This has huge impacts on tourism, on fisheries, and on shipping.
“When we walk down a beach, particularly in the summer months at the height of the tourist season, our beaches are full of plastic bags, cups, lids, straws – all items that we would refer to as ‘single-use’ plastics, and all items for which there are reusable alternatives available. This is needless waste.
“Plastic pollution is one of the main issues that my constituents across Ireland South raise with me on a regular basis and I have held meetings on the issue in Limerick, Waterford, and now Clare.
“Having worked on the recently agreed Single Use Plastics Directive when it came through the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, I welcomed the opportunity to discuss this topic in more detail with my constituents in Ennis this week.
“This vital piece of legislation means that from 2021, items like plastic cutlery, plates, straws, polystyrene containers and cotton bud sticks will be banned across the EU. It is an important step in the right direction on this issue, and will make a big difference, particularly for the protection of our marine environment.
Expert speakers included Terry Fox, Founder of Huhtamaki Cupprint, Margaret Murphy, Resource Efficiency Officer of the Southern Region Waste Management Office, and Dr. Annemarie Mahon of the Marine and Freshwater Research Center (MFRC) at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology.