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10% of population sign ban plastic carrier bags petition

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ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners have handed over a petition to the States with more than 6,300 signatures calling for bold action to ban plastic carrier bags, including bags for life.

Madeleine Norman, from Plastic Free Guernsey, hands Environment & Infrastructure president Barry Brehaut a link to an online petition with 6,352 signatures calling on the States to ban all plastic carrier bags, including bags for life. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 26356549)

Plastic Free Guernsey wants Environment & Infrastructure to ban the bags because they suffocate the ocean, spoil natural landscapes and kill wildlife.

Passing the petition over to E&I president Barry Brehaut, Madeleine Norman from the group said a response was needed to combat an evident problem.

‘There is no facility to recycle plastic bags locally, so at best they end up in landfill somewhere contributing to the carbon footprint, and at worse they end up in the environment flying around and eventually in the soil where they break down creating micro-plastics, or even worse they end up in the sea and are mistaken as food for marine life.’

The idea is that islanders should all switch to cloth bags, which are truly sustainable, and a few cotton, jute or hessian bags stationed in handbags, glove compartments, desks and on coat hooks can last a lifetime.

A ban on plastic bags could face criticism that it hits the elderly and the poor, but Ms Norman said they had experienced across the board support for a ban.

‘I think the fact that we’ve got over 10% of the population who’ve signed this petition, I think that shows that people are ready for it, and when you say about the older generation, they used to take a bag because they didn’t have bags offered to them at the supermarket, or they would reuse one of the boxes that the produce had come in.

‘That’s the sort of mentality that we need to adopt again. We want to go back to that way, and it worked then so there’s no reason why it can’t work now.’

Deputy Brehaut received the petition with 6,352 names enthusiastically and promised that the matter was being looked at.

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‘The committee have already agreed to work up proposals to submit to the States on this topic in the future.

‘We are working closely with Guernsey Waste to put together these proposals but we are in the very early stages of the process.

‘Preliminary advice has been received from our legal advisers in regard to the type of legislative arrangements that may be required to implement such a ban and there are different options that the committee will need to consider.’

No timescale has yet been issued about when proposals could go before the States and it is unclear whether the ‘different options’ that will be considered will include the so-called bags for life.

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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