Leader comment: Follow Ullapool’s lead on plastic straws

School pupils discuss marine plastic pollution with staff at the Royal Hotel in Ullapool, which has become the country's first village to outlaw plastic drinking straws. Picture: Noel Hawkins
School pupils discuss marine plastic pollution with staff at the Royal Hotel in Ullapool, which has become the country's first village to outlaw plastic drinking straws. Picture: Noel Hawkins
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In the words of 11-year-old Caillín Erin Patterson: “There’s no need for plastic straws.”

She and classmates in Ullapool helped convince the village to become what may be the first in the UK to be completely free of plastic straws.

It can only be hoped that where Ullapool leads, Scotland, the UK and the rest of the world will follow. For Caillín is absolutely right.

READ MORE: Ullapool becomes first village to ban plastic straws

We are perfectly capable of drinking without the help of a straw, yet we continue to use them despite the damage that plastic waste is causing to the marine environment.

Plastic waste can choke and ensnare wildlife, cause animals to starve by filling their stomachs, and even poison them as it attracts and concentrates toxic chemicals.

In little over 60 years, humans have managed, almost casually, to put the world’s sealife in serious danger.

The problem – as assessed by numerous scientists – is one recognised by people across the political spectrum including Conservatives like Cabinet Minister Michael Gove, who recently said there was “no doubt” plastic was causing “catastrophic damage to the fragile and complex marine ecosystem”.

READ MORE: Majority of seabirds are eating plastic, Scots scientists warn