Scottish Government poised to ban plastic cotton buds

THE SCOTTISH Government is poised to ban plastic cotton buds.

Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said it would be a “clear sign” of their commitment to rid marine life of waste.

And she drew praise from environmental groups for the move.

In a statement, she said: “Banning plastic cotton buds would be a clear sign of our ambition to address marine plastics and demonstrate further leadership on this issue.

“Despite various campaigns, people are continuing to flush litter down their toilets and this has to stop.”

She said Scotland’s sewerage infrastructure collects and treats some 945 million litres of waste water each day.

But the systems are not designed to remove small plastic items such as plastic buds which can kill marine animals and birds that swallow them.

She added: “These products are completely unnecessary as biodegradable alternatives are readily available.

“The need for action is clear and I would encourage everyone with an interest in safeguarding our natural environment to take part in the consultation when it opens.”

Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said it was “great news” and “decisive” as a step towards other bans.

He said: “This decisive action is great news for the environment and for wildlife. Cotton buds are a very visible sign of our hugely wasteful habits, turning up on beaches across the globe.

“Manufacturers and supermarkets are already moving in the right direction but this single measure will guarantee that Scotland cuts its contribution to marine plastic pollution in half.

“Following the plastic bag charge and the announcement of a deposit and return scheme for drinks’ bottles and cans, this is another good step on the way to a society which uses resources more sensibly.

“We look forward to further initiatives when the Government’s promised new group on single-use plastic containers, such as coffee cups, reports its work.”

It comes as a bid to ban plastic straws goes to First Minister’s Questions today.

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Read: The Cotton Bud Project

PICTURE CREDITS: Pisauikan

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

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