4 September 2018
By Bryan Smyth
Speaking at the award-winning transnational European Circular Ocean project in Cork County Hall today, MEP Deirdre Clune said the ocean is extremely valuable and needs to be looked after.
She said: “Oceans make up 70% of our planet’s surface, yet we use it for less than 3% of our economic activity. By 2050 our planet will be home to 10 billion people who will turn to our oceans for food, energy and for jobs. We need to act wisely and not make the same mistakes we have made on land.”
“It must be recognised that too often the way plastics are currently produced, used and discarded actually fail to capture the economic benefits of a circular approach and of course as we know have a hugely detrimental effect on our environment. It is the environmental problems that are causing us to shine a light on the production use and consumption of plastics.
“The millions of tonnes of plastic that end up in our oceans every year are one of the most visible signs of the problem and is a cause of growing public concern.
“As is the case in climate change the EU is best placed to deliver the change in our approach to plastics. Producers must be responsible to develop more sustainable materials. The goal set by the Commission is all plastic to be recyclable by 2030 – today it stands at 30%.”
“All these challenges are not just European issues of course they are global issues. A plastic bottle discarded in the ocean in Asia can end up halfway around the world and still be around when great great grandchildren go to the beach.”
Ms Clune said that plastics do play an important role in our economy.
“They are a very valuable product but its growth is alarming. Global production has increased 20 times since the 1960’s and is expected to double in the next 20 years.”
Ms Clune congratulated the Circular Ocean Project Run by Macroom-E for their very valuable research work on plastic litter in our oceans.
She said: “The challenge is now how can we tackle these issues and also importantly develop opportunities for small businesses.”