A Bangor Councillor is continuing in her campaign to reduce the use of plastic in Gwynedd after starting her national campaign back in the autumn to tackle the problem of polystyrene in communities.
At Gwynedd Council this week (1 March), Councillor Elin Walker Jones will be asking for the Council’s support to call on the Welsh Government to take action urgently to act on single use plastics in Wales and consider raising a tax on all plastics to help ensure we live in a healthy and prosperous environment.
Elin Walker Jones said: “I am very proud of the work of that Plaid Cymru’s team has achieved after I first called for a tax on a polystyrene back in the autumn at the Plaid’s autumn conference. The message has been heard at the National Assembly in January after Plaid Cymru’s amendment to introduce a duty on single use plastic goods has been passed to reduce the amount of pollution in the sea and the environment.”
Plastic pollution is a huge environmental problem that threatens marine life and other animals. There are 12.7 million tonnes of plastic entering the sea annually. This is equivalent to a truck of waste every single minute.
Recent research shows that pieces of plastic cause the death of a million seabirds and 100,000 aquatic mammals, according to UNESCO. And according to early research, there is a risk that the plastic in the form of tiny microplastic particles are already entering the food chain. Plastic waste is a blast on the landscape, beaches and seas of Wales.
“As a Plaid Cymru Councillor, I take pride in the fact that we are acting innovatively in Wales and led the way in charging for single use carrier bags before any other country in the United Kingdom. This led to a 71% reduction in the use of plastic bags within the first three years of the plan.
“But we can do more by putting a charge on single use plastic such as coffee cups that can not be recycled. Plastic was not created until the beginning of the last century, but we have already become successful in contamination. The situation can not be changed overnight, we need to put many different action plans in place. But we have once lived without all the plastic that surrounds us daily, we can live without it again.
One business in Gwynedd that has already switched their plastic policy to one using recycled products is Gwesty Ty Newydd in Aberdaron, Pen Llyn. Owner, Iain Roberts explains: “Working in Pen Llyn where magnificent views, beaches and seas surround you confirms that we have to work locally to protect our environment. Since the beginning of the year, we have eliminated the use of plastic straws at the hotel as part of a campaign in Llyn called “The Last Straw” and changed to use biodegradable straws.
“We now stock Dyffryn Nantlle’s Pant Du glass bottled water in the bar now and we have also stopped using plastic water bottles in the rooms. Instead, we use tap water from the local reservoir in large glass bottles placed with empty glasses for the guests in each room. Our coffee cups that come from Dwyfor Coffee in Nefyn have now been switched to recycled sugar cane cups.
“The response from our customers has been very encouraging, with great support for the changes we’ve adopted and an assurance for us as a company that by making small changes we can have a great impact in protecting the environment.”
Councillor Elin Walker Jones continued: “I have regular calls and complaints in my Ward in Eithinog, Bangor of litter and plastic problems in specific areas. This is an issue that is a responsibility for us all, of all ages and all backgrounds.
“That’s the reason why we’ve organised a ‘Spring Clean’ event in Bangor on Saturday 3 March gathering teams of people with us from the community to clear the area of rubbish. From making small changes, we can create a big difference to our communities. So come along and join us!”
Councillor Elin Walker Jones will be asking for the support of all Gwynedd Councillors at the full Council meeting in Caernarfon on Thursday, 1 March 2018.