NUIG study found 73% of deep sea fish had ingested plastic
There will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050, according to predictions
Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan today called on the Government to honour their commitment to ban microbeads – fifteen months after promising to do so. The call came following a report published by NUIG this morning, which found that 73% of deep water fish in Irish waters had ingested plastic particles, one of the highest frequencies in fish anywhere in the world ever reported.
Speaking today, Senator O’Sullivan said: “In November 2016 the Government made a commitment to me in the Seanad that they would ban microbeads as part of wide-ranging marine protection measures. They wrote to the European Commission after that Seanad debate notifying them of the Government’s intention to ban microbeads in 2017. Despite this, no progress has been made, no legislation is ready, and the Government have shown no commitment or urgency on the issue since then.
“We’re calling on them to honour their pledge to ban microbeads, and introduce wider measures to reduce the staggering amounts of plastic waste being produced in Ireland every year. Ireland is the top producer of plastic waste in the European Union, according to the latest Eurostat figures. Every year, we produce 61kg of plastic waste per person in Ireland. This has to change.
“The issue of plastic pollution is a massive challenge. Every year, over 110 million tonnes of plastic is produced. Of this, up to 43% ends up in landfill. According to the UN, 8 million tonnes of plastic leak into oceans each year. This is equivalent to dumping a truck of plastic into the sea every minute. It is now predicted that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish and that 99 per cent of seabirds will have ingested plastic.”
In November 2016, following a Green Party bill in the Seanad, Minister Simon Coveney wrote to the European Commission notifying them of the Government’s intention to introduce legislation banning microbeads in 2017.
The Government voted against the Green Party’s Waste Reduction Bill, which seeks to introduce a deposit refund scheme on drinks containers, and phase out single-use, non-recyclable plastics by 2020, in the Dáil in July 2017. The Bill passed, and will go before the Oireachtas Environment committee in the coming weeks.
Further information on the Waste Reduction Bill is available here.