Our planet is awash with plastic. Covered from top to bottom in empty Tayto packets, Tic-Tac tubs and Tesco bags for life. It feels barely a day goes by without some story surfacing that shows just how thoroughly and comprehensively we have filled every spare nook and cranny in even the remotest ecosystems with plastic debris.
Well, one Irish university have cried 'enough'. Sick are they of seeing images of sea turtles whose shells have grown deformed after getting caught in the plastic rings of a multipack of beer; they have had it up to here *raises hand suitably high off the ground to have some dramatic impact* with seeing footage of scientists slicing into the stomachs of dead beached whales to find that they clearly died as a result of their diet, for the last few years of their life, consisting mostly of styrofoam packing peanuts and discarded Action Men.
DCU have taken the bold step of declaring that they're hoping their campus will become 'plastic-free' by 2020. Their purge of oil-based polymers has already begun, with the announcement that they are withdrawing single use plastic cups from their campuses with immediate effect. By 2018 the university is looking to remove single-use plastic containers - for food and drink - as well as plastic cutlery, straws and plastic bags by 2018 with the final phase of their plastic-centric pogrom being implemented by 2020 with plastic drinks bottles being phased out from sale in campus shops.
Speaking to The Irish Times DCU President, Brian MacCraith, said, "Our prioritisation of sustainability as a key theme reflects DCU's commitment to address a very real challenge, both at local and global levels. Today's announcement is the start of a journey which will help set best practice for our students, staff and society around us."
This is fantastic news for any and all ocean wildlife who will at least be able to console themselves with the thought that none of the chunks of discarded plastic that are slowly killing them can trace their roots back to DCU.
H/T: The Irish Times