Irish MEP calls on the public to keep the country's rivers and beaches clean in the fight against plastic
The European Union wants 55% of all plastic to be recycled by 2030.
Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune has called on everyone from producers to consumers to business to "play their part" in the ongoing fight against plastic usage and waste.
Clune was speaking in the wake of a new survey conducted by Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) illustrated that one in ten Irish beaches are litter-free.
The survey also found that 40% of rivers, beaches and harbours are litter zones.
“It is so sad to see beautiful places like Cork Harbour, Bundoran and Doolin Pier in Clare are litter black spots," said Clune.
"We have such a beautiful country that we can’t allow to be destroyed by litter. We put a lot of pride in keeping towns around Ireland clean but we must do the same for the beaches and rivers."
Clune went on to emphasise the responsibility of the public "to ensure we use it responsibly and there is also a focus on producers to ensure that plastic is easier to reuse and recycle.”
The MEP notes that plastic production now 20 times higher than in the 1960s, and is set to quadruple by 2050.
"We cannot continue to produce and use this amount of plastic, which is impacting hugely on our environment," argues Clune.
“Reducing the amount of plastics in our oceans and on our beaches is vital to protect marine life and also to ensure that fish, and as a result the food chain, are not further contaminated by plastics.”
Referencing how Ireland has previously led the way on the fight on plastic with the introduction of the plastic bag levy in 2002, Clune is hopeful that related momentum continues.
"We must continue to drive the agenda, particularly as an island nation, surrounded by magnificent fishing waters and beautiful beaches, to change habits when it comes to plastics in our lives.”