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Foster failing to do anything to tackle plastic bag problem‏

21 April, 2008

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has said that the Minister of the Environment has failed to do anything to help reduce the use of plastic bags in the north.

Mr McKay said:

"Across Europe numerous governments are taking radical measures to reduce the use of plastic bags and the impact they have on the environment. In the 26 Counties and Switzerland a levy on plastic bags has been introduced and in France a full legal ban on bags will be introduced within 2 years.

"In comparison the performance of the local Environment Minister has been woeful. She has done little or nothing to reduce the amount of plastic bags in circulation and has failed to show any leadership on the matter.

"The introduction of a plastic bag levy in the south was supported by the public and I believe that the public would be supportive of a similar measure here.

"Marks and Spencers already charge for food carrier bags in the north and this has resulted in customers' use of plastic bags dropping by over 70% (over 280 million bags) and raised over £80,000 for the Groundwork organisation for use in local environmental projects.

"Sinn Féin believes that initiatives like these are the way forward and that the Minister should now take steps to introduce a plastic bag levy across the north." ENDS

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