Highlands & Islands

Western Isles' comhairle to phase out plastic straw use

Luskentyre beach Image copyright Laura Ross
Image caption The Western Isle is renowned for its beaches, including Luskentyre on Harris

The Western Isles' Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is the first Scottish council to pledge to go plastic straw-free, according to MSP Kate Forbes.

The comhairle said it would begin phasing out the use of the items in its schools and its civic events.

SNP MSP Ms Forbes wrote to all of Scotland's councils asking them to stop using the straws as part of the Final Straw campaign.

The campaign aims to reduce marine pollution in the sea and on beaches.

The Western Isles is renowned for its beaches. Luskentyre on Harris was named one of the UK's best beaches in the 2017 TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards.

'Bear the brunt'

Ms Forbes said: "I am full of admiration for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, who are leading the way in cracking down on plastic straws.

"It is to the credit of all staff at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar that they are willing to make this move to being plastic-straw-free across their sites."

She added: "The Western Isles face the same challenges as all councils in cracking down on plastic straws, but it is usually rural areas that really bear the brunt of marine litter and rural volunteers who spend time cleaning our beaches."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The comhairle is to begin phasing out the use of plastic straws in its schools and civic events

Last month, a Scottish village became plastic straw-free after a campaign by school pupils.

Ullapool is believed to be the first village in the UK to halt their use in all bars, restaurants and cafes.

Pupils launched the campaign due to concerns over the environmental impact of plastic straws.

Fourteen businesses in the Wester Ross village have either gone straw-free or are using alternatives to plastic, including paper straws.

The campaign was run by pupils from Ullapool Primary School and Glasgow's Sunnyside Primary, who were on a field trip to the village, along with help from the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

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