Schools ‘Nae Straw At Aw’ campaign is hailed by First Minister at Holyrood

TWO Scots primary school shave been hailed by the Scottish Government for setting out an example of how the nation can fight against waste plastic.

Sunnyside Primary in Glasgow and Ullapool Primary school in the Highlands worked to persuade businesses to ditch using plastic straws.

Now their impressive ‘Nae Straw At Aw’ has seen them recognised at Holyrood after MSP Kate Forbes cited the campaign in the Scottish Parliament.

At First Minister’s Question today, Forbes asked: “Does the First Minister agree that if Sunnyside primary school and Ullapool primary school pupils can eliminate plastic straws from an entire village in a matter of months with their “Nae Straw At Aw” campaign, the UK Government’s target of 25 years lacks a bit of urgency, while plastic straws continue to pollute our seas?”

Nicola Sturgeon said she commended their work and said they had “set an example to us all”.

There is also a an Early Day motion praising the schools at Westminster by Glasgow East MP David Linden. It reads:

That this House commends Sunnyside Primary School in Craigend and Ullapool Primary in the Highlands on their Nae Straw At Aw campaign aimed at encouraging individuals and businesses to reduce their use of plastic straws; praises the pupils and staff at the schools for finding creative ways to raise awareness of the effects that plastic straws have on our ecosystem, as well as ways to reduce this wastage; thanks them for highlighting the extent of straw usage at schools around Glasgow as well as proposing alternatives; and looks forward to seeing the continued success of their campaign.

Both school carried out learning projects including clean-ups in their areas.

Pupils from Sunnyside later joined forces with Ullapool as they toured businesses in the town with ‘sample bags’ urging them to ditch plastic straws for paper alternatives.

Yesterday’s praise came as Prime Minister Theresa May also pledged to help cut plastic waste.

Referring to the UK’s timetable of change to see avoidable plastics eradicated, the First Minister said:  “I take the view that we do not have the luxury of 25 years, and neither do our coastal communities such as Ullapool, which are already taking local action.

“Blue Planet II might have woken up the UK Government to the issue of plastics in our seas, but we have been alive to the issue for some time and have been leading the way in taking action.”

She added: “We will always look to work constructively with other Governments in the UK and beyond, but it is clearer than ever that decisions about our precious natural environment are best made here in Scotland, because we are leading the way.”

Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch sits on Holyrood’s Environment Committee and earlier this week launched The Final Straw campaign calling for plastic drinking straws to be banned across the country.

In a question at Holyrood, she said: “To ask the First Minister how the Scottish Government plans to reduce the use of single-use disposable plastics such as plastic straws. ”

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Ms Sturgeon replied: “We are determined to tackle the blight of plastic that does so much damage to our environment generally and to our oceans and beaches in particular.

“As I have already said in response to earlier questions, we have outlined our intention to introduce a deposit-return scheme, and today the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform has set out proposals to ban plastic-stemmed cotton buds.

“As we committed to doing in our programme for government, we will appoint an expert panel to provide advice on further charges and other actions that we might take to reduce Scotland’s use of single-use items such as plastic straws. I again commend Kate Forbes for the campaign that she has launched.

“Thanks to the growing pressure of public concern about plastics, there has been a lot more discussion at the highest levels of the UK and Scottish Governments about cracking down on single-use plastics.

“Whilst I welcome Theresa May’s 25 year-plan, there have got to be tangible steps rather than just sympathy.

“It took a primary school in Glasgow just a matter of months to eliminate all plastic straws from the village of Ullapool, so why will take Theresa May to reduce ‘avoidable’ plastics?

“The Scottish Government’s announcement on banning the sale and manufacture of cotton buds demonstrates that Governments can and should bite the bullet and make decisions about plastics.”

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Forbes said later: “Raising this issue at First Minister’s Questions is another opportunity to make the case for reducing plastic straws.

“The First Minister is clearly already committed, with the Scottish Government having already implemented a charge for plastic bags and now set to introduce a deposit return scheme, on top of the new ban on plastic cotton buds.

“Her answer was indicative of the future steps she intends to take.”

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Read: Parliamentary Business Report

IMAGE CREDITS: The Final Straw & Rkit

Shaun Milne is a Scottish based journalist with a particular interest in environmental issues, politics and travel.

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