Liberal Democrats call for Oldham to become a plastic-free borough

Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing, Transport and Planning Councillor Dave Murphy will be proposing a motion at the next full meeting of Oldham Council (Wednesday, 28 March) calling for Oldham to become a single use plastic-free Borough.

Councillor Murphy said: “300 million tons of new plastic is made across the world every year, around half of this is turned into billions of items, such as drinking straws, cups and utensils that are used once and discarded.  Much of this waste goes to landfill, more sadly still some of it ends up in our oceans.”

“I think all of us will have been shocked by the recent images on our televisions and on social media of the world’s oceans being smothered by discarded plastic and sea birds and mammals choking on this detritus,” added Councillor Murphy.

“In 2016, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimated that by weight there could be more plastic in our oceans than fish.  Columbia University has estimated that these plastics stay in our environment for up to 600 million years.  Imagine that an item you might use for six minutes polluting our environment for six hundred million years.  And it doesn’t lie dormant – plastic contaminates the food chain.  Plastic is consumed by fish and fish is consumed by us,” he stated.

“As human beings, let us use our supposedly higher intelligence to take collective responsibility for the stewardship of this planet and the plants and animals which inhabit it.  The Liberal Democrats believe passionately that one single thing that we can all do as part of this shared responsibility is to choose not to use and discard single-use plastic items, such as plastic drinking straws or picnic utensils, in our daily lives,” claimed Councillor Murphy.

The motion is being seconded by Liberal Democrat Councillor Garth Harkness.  He added: “I am proud that the Oldham Liberal Democrats are sponsoring this motion.  We have a long track record of championing many environmental concerns in the Council Chamber, including calling for the establishment of tree wardens and a woodland strategy, seeking protection for bees and pollinators, and calling for an end to the use of non-recyclable coffee cups.”

“Many other local authorities have chosen to ban the use of single-use plastic items in their workplaces and public buildings; the Liberal Democrats want Oldham Council to be part of that pack,” stated Councillor Harkness.  “If in adopting this policy, we can influence our social and business partners and the citizens of this Borough to also say No to single-use plastic then together we can make Oldham a single-use plastic free Borough by the end of the year.”

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