It has been predicted there will be more plastic waste than fish in our oceans by 2050 – another indication of the scale of contamination it is wreaking.
Ireland has moved from laggard to European leader in recycling waste packaging over the past 20 years. Yet we continue to generate around three billion “single-use” plastic bottles every year, most of which used to be shipped to China. Millions of bottles still go to landfill or are incinerated instead of being recycled. Annual reports by the environmental group Coastwatch confirm the extent of the damage.
A UN resolution agreed in Kenya last month states the world needs to move urgently to completely stop plastic waste from entering the oceans. The EU on Tuesday announced it is to wage war against plastics as part of its strategy to ensure every piece of packaging is reusable or recyclable by 2030. A greater sense of urgency was no doubt prompted by China’s decision to ban imports of foreign recyclable material, but the strategy is far-reaching.