Could you live without plastic for a week?

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Some of the many participants for Galway No Plastic Week.

Some of the many participants for Galway No Plastic Week.

High profile Galwegians are tackling the challenge of living ‘plastic free’ for the week commencing February 5 as part of Plastic Free Week in Galway City. Participants include Mayor of Galway City Pearce Flannery; Jake Heenan, Flanker for Connacht Rugby; JP McMahon, of Michelin-star restaurant Aniar; Hannah Kiely, Chief Executive of Galway2020; Dr Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive of the Marine Institute; and a number of well-known faces from the cast of Ros na Rún, among others.

NUI Galway, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology and schools across the city will also participate in the initiative, which aims to reduce the use of single-use, disposable plastic products, through action, education and example.

Easy tips to reduce plastic include switching to reusable bags, takeaway cups and water bottles; carrying a ‘spork’ instead of using disposable cutlery; and ditching plastic straws.

Speaking about the initiative, Mayor Pearce Flannery said, “Plastic is a very flexible and useful material that plays many important roles in our lives. However plastic is causing unprecedented environmental problems due the sheer volumes we use, some of which is unnecessary.

“Participants in Plastic Free Week in Galway are acting to change this situation, by challenging how we use plastic, and finding alternatives where they exist. I would like to commend all participants for raising awareness of this very significant issue.”

Arlene Finn, European Green Leaf coordinator for Galway City Council said that over the past 60-70 years, plastic has changed everything from clothing, cooking and catering, to product design, engineering and retailing.

“Nearly all the plastic ever created still exists in some form today, and half the plastic we use is used just once, and thrown away. Plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose, and it can cause unsightly litter on our streets.

“When plastics end up in the sea, they can entangle and kill marine creatures, as well as potentially ending up in the food chain. Ireland was the first country to introduce a Plastic Bag Levy in 2002, drastically reducing our use of plastic shopping bags. We’ve shown we can lead in Ireland when it comes to environmental actions. Now Galway City is leading the way in reducing single-use plastics in our city.”

Schools, businesses and other organisations are invited to participate in the week, by encouraging their community to reduce their plastic use, and by sharing their experiences using the tags #plasticfreeforaweek #plasticfreegalway and @galwaygreenleaf. The Plastic Free Week poster is available from Galway City Council, contact 091 536 400.

Also participating in Plastic Free Week are Mayor Anna Tenje, of Vaxjo, Sweden, and Mayor Carlos Manuel Antunes Bernardes, Torres Vedras, Portugal. Torres Vedras was the first European Green Leaf city in 2015, and Vaxjo are the 2018 European Green Leaf city.

The full list of participants includes:

His Worship Mayor of Galway City Pearce Flannery

Mayor Anna Tenje, Växjö, Sweden

Mayor Carlos Manuel Antunes Bernardes, Torres Vedras, Portugal

Brendan McGrath, Chief Executive, Galway City Council

Brian Carey, Head of Bank of Ireland Galway City, Bank of Ireland

Ceri Garfield, Comhordaitheoir Léirithe, Ros na Rún

Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President, National University of Ireland, Galway

Danny Mac Eamharcaigh (Niall ), Ros na Rún

Declan Varley, Editor, Galway Advertiser

Dr Fergal J. Barry, President/ An t-Uachtarán, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology

Dr Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive, Marine Institute

Elaine Donoghue, Coordinator, European Region of Gastronomy

Grainne Finn, Associate Solicitor, Ronan Daly Jermny

Hannah Kiely, Chief Executive, Galway2020

Jake Heenan, Flanker, Connacht Rugby

JP McMahon, Aniar Restaurant

Keith Kissane, General Manager, Nest Hotel, The Village Salthill

Lorcán Ó Maoileannaigh, Uachtarán/ President, NUI Galway Students’ Union

Máirín de Buitléir (Dee ), Ros na Rún

Marion Grady, Environmental & Waste Management Coordinator, Galway University Hospitals

Maurice Power, Chief Executive, Saolta Hospital Group

Pól Penrose (Colm ), Ros na Rún

Tim Folan, Environmental Health and Safety, Ingersoll Rand – Thermo King

Participating Schools

St John the Apostle

Buaile Beag NS

St Nicholas Parochial School

Scoil Iognáid

Tirellan Heights

The Claddagh N.S.

Scoil Ide

Scoil Rois

Galway Educate Together N.S.

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