Green Party NI welcomes introduction of plastic bag levy

The Green Party has welcomed the decision by the Environment Minister to introduce a levy on single use plastic bags.

Welcoming the announcement, Green Party Councillor Dr John Barry said:

“The Green Party in Northern Ireland welcomes this decision by the Minister Attwood.

“On a local level, plastic bags end up littering our streets, countryside, beaches and waterways and have a negative impact on wildlife leading to clean up costs borne by the tax and ratepayer.

“They also end up in vast numbers on landfill sites and inhibit the breakdown of other bio-degradable materials contained within them.

“On a global scale, they contribute to carbon emissions at production stage and add greatly to widespread accumulated environmental damage – especially in our oceans.

“The reality is that most plastic takes an estimated 450 to 1,000 years to biodegrade at sea.

“And some plastics may never fully degrade but simply break down into smaller and smaller pieces – eventually forming dangerous dust with the toxins passed up the food chain to people.

“Minister Attwood’s decision makes sound ecological and economic sense in offering a clear signal that excessive plastic bag production and use is a waste of resources as well as an environmental hazard.

“While Northern Ireland still lags behind the South and the UK in terms of reducing plastic bag usage, we believe this is a first good step.

“It sends out a positive message that Northern Ireland is ready to embrace greener policies and the economic opportunities associated with moving to a green economy.

“This is good news for Northern Ireland, its economy and environment.”

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