Scottish Liberal Democrat environment spokesperson Rebecca Bell has today marked the start of the week-long Great British Beach Clean, which runs from 18-25 September, by calling for the Scottish Government to do more to ensure that disposable waste such as masks are not allowed to pollute the beaches, streets and countryside of Scotland.
As part of its Great British Beach Clean, the Marine Conservation Society is asking volunteers to record how many disposable masks they pick up. Charities are also encouraging people to cut the straps before binning them because they're getting caught around birds and fish.
Rebecca Bell said:
“First of all, I want to thank all of those taking part in keeping their communities clean. Scotland is a beautiful country. Let's keep it that way.
"As we face the Covid-19 crisis, we all want to do our bit to keep others safe. Wearing face coverings is a critical part of that, but it must not cost the earth.
"It's clear that single-use face masks are creating an enormous mountain of waste. You can see some of it littering our beaches, streets and countryside. It can take hundreds of years to fully decompose, so it is potentially catastrophic for our wildlife and oceans.
"Outside of essential clinical settings, there are plenty of environmentally friendly, reusable alternatives that people can use.
"We need the Scottish Government to lead the way through further promotion of sustainable choices and setting out how they will tackle the vast amount of single use and disposable waste that the crisis is generating, including masks, plastic gloves, disposable coffee cups and more."