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Harmful plastic pollution to be tackled under new bill – Clifford-Lee

Fianna Fáil Senator, and Bye Election candidate, Lorraine Clifford-Lee has said that the Harmful Plastics Prohibition Bill 2019 will seek to tackle plastic pollution and litter, which is plaguing the Irish environment.

This Bill aims to tackle the massive issue of plastic pollution and litter. It is estimated that about 2,400 to 8,600 tonnes of plastic enter the marine environment in Europe every year.

Senator Clifford-Lee said: “The first part of this bill addresses a ban on microbeads, which are commonly found in cleaning and cosmetic products. It is an important step to prevent plastics from being washed down the drain and straight into our riverways and seas.”

“The government has failed to follow suit with their own Microbeads Bill which is currently stuck at second stage. The government bill deals only with primary microplastics (aka microbeads) and does not provide for the considerable volume of other plastics that are polluting our shared environment. Indeed, recent research suggests that most microplastic litter found in the seas comes from the erosion of plastics that were once larger, such as disposable tableware.”

Ireland’s marine life is essential with fishing and related activities central to the economy with the fishing industry providing about 11,000 jobs in Ireland and contributes hundreds of millions to the Irish economy.

“Our bill awards power to the Minister of the day to ban certain types of single use plastics, if he or she deems these plastics to be easily replaceable or to be particularly environmentally degrading. This bill will encourage the government to take a more proactive approach to identifying areas for improvement, as Fianna Fáil did in 2002 when we introduced a levy on single use disposable bags,” concluded Senator Clifford-Lee.

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