Mercy Global Concern

Submission from MIA Global Action to Irish Citizens' Assembly

Reports: August 18, 2017

The Citizens' Assembly is a random selection of 100 people, representing the Irish electorate, who together consider important issues facing Ireland’s future. At the end of the discussion, they send their recommendations on a specific topic to the Houses of the Oireachtas (The Irish Parliament) for further debate by our elected representatives.

On the weekends of 30 September- 1 October and 4 - 5 November, the Citizens' Assembly will discuss the topic: ‘How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change'.

MIA-Global Action took the opportunity to make a submission on this critically important issue.

                         The Link Between Climate Change and Plastic Pollution....

"What does plastic pollution have to do with climate change? They both have their root in fossil fuels." Anna Cummins, 5 Gyres Institute.

Plastics are mainly made from fossil fuels like oil and natural gas that release toxic emissions when extracted from the earth. The link between climate change and plastic is that it will cost billions if not trillions of dollars, to mitigate and repair the damage caused by both!

Interestingly up to this point there has been no global conference to discuss and take action at international level, on the severe damage plastic is causing in the oceans and seas to marine life, nor to the environment. From scientific evidence we know that every year at least a million seabirds and hundreds of thousands of marine mammals die a horrific death, because they ingested or got tangled up in plastic.

Conscious of this and the widespread environmental damage we are causing, Pope Francis in his encyclical: ‘Laudato Si – On Care For Our Common Home’ said: “Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change.” (Paragraph 202)

A very positive step is the grassroots movement to hold manufacturers and retailers more responsible for the single or one-use plastic they wrap around food and other products. One example is the campaign currently gaining momentum to encourage the McDonalds fast food franchise with 36,000 restaurants in over 100 countries, to make the change from a single-use plastic straw to one that is environmentally friendly. This one action could pave the way towards eliminating plastic straws altogether, as other businesses will quickly follow their example.

According to Meghan Miller from the campaign group ‘SumOfUs’ the number of straws used daily in the USA, is enough to wrap around the circumference of the earth two and a half times! Given that it can take up to 200 years for one plastic straw to decompose, the scale of the problem and the damage caused is monumental and growing.

Suggestions for the Irish Government to take....

1. The Government must ban single-use plastic i.e. straws and wrapping used for fruit, vegetables and meat, by introducing a ‘plastic tax’ ASAP. The money collected should be directed to research, to eliminate single-use plastic production.

2. Organise a National and a European wide conference to highlight the negative consequences of using plastic, with a view to replacing it with bio-degradable products.
Thank you to everyone in the Citizen’s Assembly, for your commitment to finding ways to ‘truly do Justice’, on the critical issue of how Ireland could take the lead in tackling climate change.


Messages to: Denise Boyle fmdm - Team Leader MIA Global Action

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