Western Isles Council becomes first local authority in Scotland to pledge to ditch plastic straws

MSP Kate Forbes is leading a campaign against plastic straws
MSP Kate Forbes is leading a campaign against plastic straws

The Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has become the first council in Scotland to pledge to go plastic straw-free.

The Western Isles council has said it wants to do what it can in the battle against plastic pollution.

Highland MSP Kate Forbes, who is leading the Final Straw campaign, wrote to all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities last week urging them to ditch plastic straws to help save the environment.

Consumers throw away an estimated three billion plastic straws in Scotland each year.

The Comhairle nan Eilean Siar confirmed that it is phasing out plastic straws for civic catering as well as in all of its schools.

Councillor 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.”

Ms Forbes said she was “full of admiration” for the council after its decision.

She added:  “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.”