The people of Ireland, Europe’s biggest plastic polluter, are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact that plastic is having on their environment.

As Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign launches in Ireland, an independent survey commissioned by Sky has found that 85% of Irish people are concerned by their usage.

The island nation produces 61kg of plastic waste per person each year.

The average person typically uses six plastic bottles each week – which would stretch from Dublin to Boston if laid end to end.

Fewer than one in 10 feel they can avoid items packaged in plastic owing to a lack of alternatives.

:: Whale dies after eating 80 plastic bags

The country’s marine minister Michael Creed told Sky News that companies need to do more.

He said: I think large corporations need to be aware of that.

They need to invest more in research and development for sustainable and biodegradable packaging.

This is the best challenge. If you want to be a conscientious shopper today it’s really challenging to avoid plastics.

Companies need to invest and respond to the mood that is out there now.

:: Med tourists leave ‘toxic legacy’ of plastic pollution

Mr Creed welcomed the campaign, saying: I commend Sky Ocean Rescue for the leadership they are showing in this area.

Marine litter is harmful to our oceans and to the marine life within them.

We need to tackle this so that we can protect the greatest national resource that Ireland has – the sea that surrounds our island.

Most people in Ireland (82%) believe that plastic waste is one of the most serious issues facing their country, with two thirds of people having seen plastics in their local rivers and lakes.

:: World Oceans Day – Big expansion of UK ‘blue belt’

JD Buckley, managing director of Sky Ireland, said: Sky Ocean Rescue has arrived in Ireland to encourage people to make easy, simple changes to stop our country being surrounded by plastic.

Research tells us that 85% of people are concerned with plastic usage in Ireland and as one of the top producers of plastic waste it’s time to pass on plastic and do what we can to protect our oceans.

Sky Ocean Rescue will be launched in Ireland with a visit by Plasticus, a 10m whale made up of a quarter of a ton of plastic to represent the amount that enters the world’s oceans every second.

It coincides with an inaugural staff beach clean at Bull Island.

Throughout the day, washed up items will be collected from the beach and will be disposed of with the support of Clean Coasts.

:: Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign encourages people to reduce their single-use plastics. You can find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at www.skyoceanrescue.com

http://ooyala.news.sky.com/Y1NG1pZjE6hlvXxwMOXgeCUNaE6E7YFW/DOcJ-FxaFrRg4gtDEwOjM3NjowODE7Tz
(c) Sky News 2018: Sky Ocean Rescue launches in Ireland as concern grows over plastic pollution