Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has become the first local authority in Scotland to pledge to go plastic-straw free in the battle against plastic pollution.
Last week Kate Forbes MSP, who is spearheading the Final Straw campaign, wrote to all of Scotland’s 32 councils urging them to ditch plastic straws to help save the environment.
In Scotland consumers throw away an estimated three billion plastic straws each year.
The Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, confirmed yesterday (16 January) that it is phasing out plastic straws for civic catering as well as in all of its schools.
Cllr Angus McCormack, Chairman of Education, Sport and Children’s Services at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar: "The Comhairle is pleased to be the first local authority in Scotland to commit to being plastic straw-free. As an authority with a significant length of coastline, the Comhairle is well aware of the amount of waste deposited on our beaches and coast, and the environmental damage caused, in addition to the cost of removal.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has sourced paper straws for use in all our schools and civic catering establishments, and, where these are not already in use, paper straws will be introduced as soon as the few remaining stocks of plastic straws are used."
Kate Forbes MSP welcomed the news: "I am full of admiration for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, who are leading the way in cracking down on plastic straws. It is to the credit of all staff at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar that they are willing to make this move to being plastic-straw-free across their sites. Of all councils, perhaps Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has the most stark reminder of the importance in protecting our seas, coastline and wildlife.
The Western Isles face the same challenges as all councils in cracking down on plastic straws, but it is usually rural areas that really bear the brunt of marine litter and rural volunteers who spend time cleaning our beaches.
I hope that the actions of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar prompt other councils to follow suit and ban plastic straws across their sites too, from school buildings to council canteens."