The Mayor of Galway, Fine Gael councillor Pearce Flannery, has launched what he is calling a “personal initiative” to make Galway a “Plastic Free City” through a combination of “action, education and example”.
The Mayor is hoping this will be “the start of a movement” to make Galway the “first city in the world” to commit avoiding single use plastic products “except where absolutely necessary”. As a result, he is calling for retailers to become involved by refusing to stock plastic bottles and use more natural glass products, however he acknowledges this will “ultimately depend on demand” and consumers “making their feelings known at all shops and retail outlets”.
The Mayor will launching a programme entitled Live Plastic Free for a Week, starting Monday February 5 2018 and this will become an annual event. “As time goes on, this initiative will, I hope, become second nature to all consumers,” he said. “We can become leaders and educators internationally through our actions and commitment to such a simple concept. This is a win-win situation for everybody.”
Mayor Flannery has pointed out that some 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year, half of which is for single use, while more than eight million tons of plastic is dumped into the oceans each year. Annually c500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide, with each bag having an average ‘working life’ of 15 minutes. He also pointed out that 14 per cent of all litter comes from beverage containers, while the process of producing bottled water requires around six times as much water per bottle as there is in the container.
“We can avoid the needless use of plastic coffee cups, plastic packaging and disposable items,” he said. “Using natural products or bio-degradable products will benefit us all and could indeed become a growth area for business. Galway can once set the trend and become a global leader in this most positive of ways.”