Monarch of the Glen killed by plastic waste is a call to arms – Steve Cardownie

A solution to the problems caused by plastic waste is urgently required, but in the meantime we all need to do what we can to reduce it, writes Steve Cardownie.

Tuesday, 19th November 2019, 5:00 pm
The stag was found with its antlers entangled in discarded plastic stripping. Picture: Wild Side of Jura/SWNS

“I think we are changing our habits and the world is waking up to what we’ve done to the planet.” So said Sir David Attenborough when addressing the problem of plastic waste in a recent BBC interview.

His documentary, Blue Planet II, revealed how an estimated total of more than 150 million tonnes of plastic items are polluting the world’s seas, causing the death of one million birds and 100,000 sea mammals each year.

When referring to the need for new techniques to be developed for disposal, he said: “We still need to know how to dispose of this wretched material. Surely if we can invent it, somebody somewhere is going to be able to deal with it, to deal with these mountains of this appalling material.”

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Forth wildlife at risk from ‘overwhelming’ plastic pollution

A few days ago newspapers carried a picture of a dying stag, trapped in plastic waste which had been washed up on the shoreline of the Isle of Jura which (tragically) aptly demonstrated the scale of the problem and the devastating impact it can have on our wildlife.

Work is ongoing and scientists at Bangor University in Wales have said that straw, grass and maize stalks could provide alternatives to plastic packaging, with the added spin that it could also provide an additional source of income for farming communities in Africa.

Whilst research into this and other potential measures proceeds apace, the public can also play an active role in dealing with this pressing problem by not using plastic straws, using a reusable produce bag, buying boxes instead of bottles, reusing containers and bottles, using matches instead of disposable lighters and such like.

The scale of the problem is huge but in the meantime every little helps.