Calling time on single-use plastic

 

Sir, – I’d like to bring to light a major global movement that is happening this month in which participants in over 177 countries worldwide are dedicating to reducing single-use plastics in their daily life. Plastic-Free July, an international programme, saw over 250 million people involved last year, and this year it is set to be even larger.

Many of us do not realise the impact of plastics and in particular single-use plastics has on our environment or the amount of it that goes into waste each day. According to an RTÉ programme in 2018, on average every Irish person generates 61kg of plastic waste each year.

As our lives resume to normality, it is a good time to reflect and to rethink our consumer choices and hold ourselves accountable for the plastics we are purchasing, using, and distributing. The decisions that people make now have an impact on the kind of world that future generations will inherit. The move to reduce single-use plastic is crucial to the natural world and the global emissions that are produced.

By switching to reusable products, and cutting down on disposable single-use plastics where possible, we can reduce the waste in our oceans, streets, and landfills and help reduce carbon emissions.

In the current pandemic, a simple way to reduce our waste is to make our own masks instead of purchasing disposable single-use ones.

Together we can be part of the solution to growing plastic pollution.

I have been working to empower and educate young people on the environment for over two decades with Eco-Unesco – the Environmental Education and Youth Organisation.

Environmental education is necessary to build an understanding of the world we live in and how we can make a positive environmental impact. While young people have a significant role to play in protecting the world they are growing up in, it is up to each one of us to contribute. This does not mean going 100 per cent plastic-free, but taking even the smallest of steps to reduce single-use plastics daily can make a huge difference. Every action counts. – Yours, etc,

ELAINE NEVIN,

Managing Director,

Eco-Unesco –

Environmental Education

and Youth Organisation,

Dublin 2.