Could plastic beach litter become a thing of the past?


​Report given to cabinet secretary shows how big a problem beach litter is

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31st January 2018 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

A sealife charity has congratulated the Scottish Government for showing some bottle by bringing in a deposit return scheme to cut down on the plastic waste littering our shores.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) will hand over a report to Roseanna Cunningham MSP, cabinet secretary for environment and climate change, highlighting the extent of the problem of drinks bottles and cans littering across Scotland.

MCS launched its #wildbottlesighting project in September 2016 to support the call for a Scottish deposit return scheme.

In that time over 6000 reports of drinks bottles and cans littered all over Scotland's rural, urban and coastal landscapes have been reported to MCS by members of the public, including almost 3,000 plastic bottles, over 2,000 metal cans and over 1,000 glass bottles.

MCS’s report includes a map of where bottles have been spotted, and a selection of tweets from wild bottle spotters

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, announced last September that a deposit return scheme for drinks containers would be introduced in Scotland to tackle the rising tide of waste ending up in the countryside and seas. It’s expected to be launched in 2019.

Cunningham said: “The Scottish Government has already confirmed it will take forward a deposit return scheme and intend to consult later this year, giving members of the public, businesses and others a chance to have their say on how it might work to help tackle our throwaway culture.

“We will continue to call on the UK government to follow our example and commit to a deposit return scheme so we can build on the success of plastic carrier bag charges and change people’s attitudes towards waste and littering.”

Catherine Gemmell, MCS Scotland conservation officer, said: “We need to stop the tide of plastic entering our oceans. We’re delighted that the Scottish Government will be leading the way and introducing a deposit return system for drinks cans and bottles in Scotland.

“The carrier bag charge proved that small financial incentives can make a big difference in behaviour, and we hope #wildbottlesightings will soon become a thing of the past!

“This report shows how serious a problem cans, glass, and plastic are for our marine environment and for our towns and countryside, and we hope that Westminster will shortly announce a deposit system for England, ideally one that works seamlessly with the Scottish system.”

MCS and other organisations will now work together to plan the best system for the country.

Deposit Return Systems already operate successfully in other parts of Europe and some states in America, Australia and Provinces in Canada, with more than a quarter of a billion people living in places with deposit systems in place.