Cheshire West steps up the fight against single-use plastics

BOROUGH chiefs are stepping up their efforts to say no to single-use plastic. Cheshire West and Chester Council’s cabinet approved plans for the authority to be a leading voice in the fight against plastic waste at Wednesday’s meeting. The council is aiming to have Chester recognised as a plastic-free city by the Surfers Against Sewage group – while it will push the green approach in the borough’s other towns and villages.

Cllr Jill Houlbrook, Conservative, told cabinet that 12.7 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the planet’s oceans every year. She said: “That’s a truck-load of rubbish a minute. That’s an awful lot of rubbish, and we in this borough contribute to it like everybody else does.

“That travels on ocean currents and it’s turning up in every corner of our planet. We’ve all seen the horrendous pictures of floating islands of rubbish, which are just quite horrendous.

“A dead sperm whale was found – they did an autopsy and there were at least 100 plastic cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags and two pairs of flip-flops inside this whale. “That’s an example of what we as human beings are doing to our planet. It’s quite horrendous and I’m really proud that this authority is taking steps together to do something about it.”

CWAC first agreed to phase out single-use plastics in December 2017 and reaffirmed its commitment to the cause a year later when members called on the council to set out a clear plan for removing them from its premises. The authority will now appoint a councillor to represent it on the Plastic Free Chester Group, support plastic-free initiatives across the borough, remove avoidable single-use plastics from CWAC buildings and form a scrutiny group to oversee the work. Cllr Houlbrook described the plans as ‘comprehensive and exciting’ – and she called on the council to get youngsters involved, following schoolchildren’s recent climate change protests.

“We are just custodians of our planet,” she added. “But I think we should include the younger generation and the plans that they have, because they are the ones that are going to have to live what we have decided and carried out.” Cllr Karen Shore, cabinet member for environment, said the plans would allow CWAC to build on the work it has already done to reduce plastic waste over the past year.

She said: “Work towards this has advanced significantly in some areas but there is more to do, and it is a journey.

“We have consistently followed the reduce, reuse, recycle approach in all matters waste-related and this will also be a key plank in working through our plastics agenda.”

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