Harvie challenges FM to think bigger than cotton buds when it comes to tackling pollution

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, today (11 Jan) challenged the First Minister to think bigger than cotton buds when it comes to tackling pollution caused by the petrochemicals industry.

Scottish Ministers today announced plans to consult on legislation banning the manufacture and sale of plastic-stemmed cotton buds, while earlier this week a chemical engineering academic suggested that redundant oil and gas platforms in the North Sea should be left in position rather than removed

More than 100 North Sea platforms are due to be decommissioned over the next ten years, along with over 1,800 wells and 7,500 kilometres of pipeline

Last month, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford backed a call for the UK Parliament to divest from oil, coal and gas companies, in contrast to Scottish Ministers’ ongoing support for the industry.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"Both governments are attempting to respond to the growing concern about plastic pollution: the UK is kicking the issue into the long grass by talking about what it might achieve by 2042; the Scottish Government wants to highlight the issue of cotton buds, though that’s an area where change is already happening with alternative products already in the shops.

"By talking about this issue merely as litter, the government risks implying that it’s all about consumer behaviour, instead of placing responsibility where it belongs, with the highly profitable businesses which are the source of the problem.

"Plastic pollution is utterly connected to our economic addiction to oil and gas: fossil fuels and industrial chemicals are two sides of the same coin. This week we learned that one oil industry voice wants to see decommissioned rigs simply dumped in the sea, while a fossil fuel company wants to take the government to court for protecting Scotland from fracking.

"Both UK and Scottish Governments like to claim credit for environmental action, but they both want ever bigger tax breaks for the very companies that are at the root of the environmental crisis. The First Minister today claimed to want to lead by example but isn’t it time to recognise that we can no longer invest our future in the fossil fuel industry, and that we instead embrace the positive fossil-free future that Scotland can have?"