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Ireland Leading
the War on Plastic

Platic washed up on the beach.
Platic washed up on the beach.

By Mary Gallagher, Assistant Editor
March / April 2019

Ireland, the first to ban smoking in public places and the first to charge for plastic bags in supermarkets, is now taking it one step further.

The Irish government has prohibited the purchase of all single-use plastics in its own offices as well as other public buildings, including schools. The products banned include a variety of commonly used items: cutlery, cups, plates, and cotton swabs among the worst offenders.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed wholeheartedly that the ultimate goal is to eradicate the non-biodegradable waste entirely. “We are going to get there,” he said. “And the plan is to do that across all government departments and then different agencies as well.”

The announcement came in January, following declarations by the European Parliament and the European Commission, establishing an objective to cut out the use of non-recyclable plastics across the E.U. over the coming years. Ireland was one of the first E.U. members to set forth a comprehensive plan in response.

The action is hoped to make a significant dent in marine pollution, in a step to re-vamp the government’s policy to fight climate change. “It is practical steps like these that put us on a sustainable path, which is essential if we are to achieve our ambition to become a leader,” asserted Richard Bruton, Irish Minister for Climate Action and the Environment. “I am committed to putting us on the right trajectory to meet our obligations.” ♦

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