Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has responded to a call from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), sharing their experience on the challenges and opportunities that exist in eliminating plastic pollution. This information, which is being gathered from a wide range of stakeholders, will help to shape DAERA’s new draft Plan to Eliminate Plastic Pollution.
Within the response, the Council reported on a range of actions which are already being carried out to tackle plastic pollution including a kerbside collection service, provision of litter bins, community support scheme for litter picking and educational talks. A number of new measures were also included for possible inclusion in the Plan including encouraging a transition from conventional to reusable carrier bags, the introduction of levies on single use plastics and an increase in funding for awareness campaigns.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb said;
“Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental challenge we face. We live in a throwaway society and I was shocked to learn that 78% of all litter found on Northern Ireland beaches is made up of discarded plastics. Strong action needs to be taken to address this issue and so I was pleased that we as a Council were able to support the development of this new Plan which will ultimately assist Northern Ireland’s contribution to the UK’s net zero target.”
In addition to their Plan, DAERA has also launched a new grants scheme, making £175,000 available for organisations and groups across Northern Ireland to help tackle litter marine.