Tynwald unanimously backs single-use plastic reduction plans

By Mark Edwards
BBC Isle of Man

Image caption,
Environment Minister Geoffrey Boot said the ultimate aim is to "eliminate all unnecessary single-use plastics" within three years

A Manx government plan to reduce single-use plastics has been unanimously backed by Tynwald.

The crackdown will begin immediately with single-use items being phased out at all government offices and events.

Environment Minister Geoffrey Boot said the ultimate aim was to "eliminate all unnecessary single-use plastics by January 2021".

Manx Wildlife Trust spokesman Graham Makepeace-Warne said the move was a "step in the right direction".

The Single Use Plastics Reduction Strategy was approved by Tynwald on Wednesday.

With immediate effect, balloon releases will be banned, single-use plastics minimised and an education programme introduced.

Mr Makepeace-Warne added: "We're pleased government is taking the issue seriously and welcome their plans.

"We would have liked this to happen sooner and for legislation to be more far reaching with immediate effect."

'Blue Planet effect'

Mr Boot said the devastating impact plastics can have on the marine environment is firmly embedded in the public consciousness.

Referring to the BBC series, he said this was largely due to the "Blue Planet effect".

"There is a clear and urgent need to take sustained global action on single-use plastics and the Isle of Man must play its part," he said.

Image source, plasticoceans.uk
Image caption,
Single-use plastic is an increasing threat to the marine environment
Image source, plasticoceans.uk
Image caption,
The Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch said balloons regularly end up in the sea
Image source, Bill Dale
Image caption,
Beach Buddies said washed-up plastic is a growing problem on Manx beaches

In Tynwald, Mr Boot praised local marine charity Beach Buddies whose army of volunteers have been working to clear island beaches of plastic for a decade.

He added: "Clearing beaches - while highly valued - addresses the consequence, not the cause. It is only right that government get its own house in order and leads by example.

Mr Boot said whilst the plan mostly focuses on reducing singl- use plastics within government, it will then be progressed to the wider community and could include a levy on plastic bags and measures to reduce food and drink packaging.

Chief Minister Howard Quayle said: "We must - and will - rise to the challenge of addressing what is one of the most high profile environmental challenges of our time."

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