Plastic pollution in our seas

Greenpeace campaigners outside the Scottish Parliament deliver 124 bottles of small pieces of plastic from Scottish beaches to MSP Claudia Beamish and an artwork made by artist Mandy Barker, created from marine plastic waste found during the Greenpeace campaign.

Greenpeace visited the Scottish Parliament recently to continue their campaign for a Deposit Return Scheme to stop plastic pollution getting into our marine environment.

A team from Greenpeace travelled around the Scottish coast in the Beluga II documenting the impact of plastic pollution on iconic Scottish wildlife such as seabirds and basking sharks, conducting remote beach surveys and taking samples of seawater in key feeding grounds to analyse plastic pollution. The team told me seeing the reality of how much plastic gets into our marine environment was shocking.

To commemorate the expedition I was given a small glass vial full of small bits of plastic that they found on the voyage. Although it is little bits of plastic rubbish, it is a lovely way of reminding me of our globally significant marine life and the serious need to clean up our seas.

Scottish Labour supports the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland. This would add a small upfront charge to bottles sold, that will be returned to the customer when they bring the container back for recycling or reuse. I am mindful that there will need to be serious consideration given to exemptions and special circumstances, but this is an exciting policy that has shown real success in tackling littering in other countries around the world.



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