Communities will be able to bid for cash from a special fund to tackle marine plastic waste, it was announced yesterday.
Tackling the problem was the hot topic of conversation at a government convention in Oban.
Representatives from communities, manufacturers, retailers and marine and environmental stakeholders met at the Perle Hotel to discuss what actions can be taken.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham led the “Reducing Plastic Waste and Marine Litter” summit, where she announced that communities will be able to bid for a share of up to £500,000 to reduce single-use plastics.
The new Action on Plastic Zero Waste Towns initiative will provide community groups with funding to deliver actions which would benefit their environment and local economy.
This could include the introduction of water bottle refill facilities, switching all single-use items in the community to the same material to make recycling easier, or replacing single use takeaway containers with reusable systems.
The minister met pupils from Sunnyside Primary School in Glasgow and Rockfield and Lochnell primary schools in the Oban area who have been campaigning to protect marine wildlife.
Ms Cunningham said: “No one can escape the momentum that’s been building around plastic waste and marine litter which is why we are bringing communities and the industry together at this summit to come up with new and innovative ways of tackling this problem.
“This new Action on Plastic project will help communities find ways of reducing and reusing materials and preventing them from polluting our seas.
“As we approach another milestone in our fight against marine litter, when our ban on the manufacture and sale of rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads comes into force, I would encourage every community and organisation in Scotland to consider what it can do to change behaviours and protect our environment.”
Zero Waste Scotland is delivering the initiative.
Ferry operator CalMac attended the summit. The company’s environmental manager, Klare Chamberlain said: “We realise the damage that plastics can do to the marine environment, we see examples of it every day. That is what why we as a ferry operator are determined to do all we can to cut down on plastics and encourage the communities we support to do the same.
“So far we have completely removed straws and are now moving on to cups and other plastic packaging such as milk cartons and sauce sachets. Longer term our ambition is to remove as much plastic food packaging on board as possible.”