The effects of plastic pollution
Plastic items like bags and straws choke wildlife and block animals’ stomachs. Turtles and dolphins, for example, often mistake plastic bags for food. And the problem is growing: plastic production has more than tripled since the ’90s and half the world’s plastic was made after 2003. About 150 million tons of plastic—much of it non-degradable—is floating in our oceans, reports the World Economic Forum. Plastic debris then becomes microplastics. These are extremely small pieces of plastic debris from the breakdown of consumer products and industrial waste. There is growing evidence of microplastics in the food chain – even in Ireland.
Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology GMIT researchers recently examined the Dublin Bay prawn and mussel populations, recording low levels of microplastics in their intestinal tracts.
Trade and information fair May 2018
We researched the problem from a business perspective. The solution we found was to run a Buyers Meet Suppliers Trade Fair. We brought together suppliers of alternatives to plastic with traders and business owners. It featured speakers from packaging companies, scientific researchers and the local authority. Our feedback forms when analysed confirmed the high level of concern about this growing problem.
Lobster Fest August 2018
Our information stand showed traders and festival goers simple ways to reduce plastic.
Green Christmas Fair November 2018.
This was supported by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and focused on reducing single use plastic packaging at Christmas. Speakers included Brody Sweeney from Camile Thai, Seamus Clancy from Repak and Ken O’Sullivan from RTE’s “Ireland’s Deep Atlantic”.
We believe that helping companies to assess their use of single use plastic is a great way to introduce the wider idea of sustainability.
Our research has shown that once people focus on one element, such as how to reduce a waste stream like plastic, it acts as a gateway to a greater awareness and desire to make changes.
Our current project reflects this and we will be following up with more information on this shortly.