Crosshaven Hosts Environmental Event
By Aoife Deane of MaREI
We’re headed for more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050. What effect is this having on our environment and health? And what can we do about it? That was the focus on a community event held last week to highlight the problem of marine litter during Clean Coasts Week and Cork Harbour Festival. The event kicked off with a screening of an Irish made documentary called ‘Plastics in Paradise’ and was followed up with a group discussion.
The event was hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven and run by An Taisce’s Coastal Programmes and the MaREI Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy in Ringaskiddy. Following the screening a discussion was led by a panel of researchers, community influencers and people working on the ground, talking about the issues and how they might be addressed. The growing problem of micro plastics was raised, tiny pieces of plastic which are contaminating our oceans and ending up in our food chain.
The evening ended with groups brainstorming ways to bring about positive behavioural change and ideas to overcome barriers to action. Simple suggestions like reducing our consumption of single use plastics (plastic bottles, straws and disposable coffee cups), buying food with less packaging, using the ‘Beat the Microbead’ app when buying cosmetics, and doing regular ‘2 minutes beach cleans’ all make a difference. At a regional and national level we need to lobby our politicians to bring about policy changes that will help address this problem; a ban on micro-beads, a deposit return scheme on plastic bottles, a levy on single use plastics, and pressure on the plastics industry to use fully recyclable products.