Awareness campaigns are active to encourage Islanders to go ‘plastic free’, but there is currently no political commitment in Jersey to adopt the EU’s recently announced position on phasing out single-use plastics.
Statistics show that, in 2016, only six per cent of all plastic waste in Jersey was recycled despite facilities being in place for the collection of used plastic bottles and their export to the UK for recycling.
The review, which is being carried out by the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel, comes as awareness grows that huge amounts of the highly durable substance are polluting the earth’s oceans.
Panel chairman Constable Mike Jackson said that Jersey had a ‘role to play’ as countries across the world stepped up to the task of tackling plastic pollution.
‘Since the ever-growing issue of plastic pollution was poignantly demonstrated on Blue Planet II towards the end of last year, the issue has now taken centre stage on a global scale,’ he said.
‘Jersey has its own role to play in reducing its use of plastics, not only for the benefit of our beautiful island environment, but also as a moral imperative on a global level.
‘The panel is keen to investigate what more can be done in addition to current awareness campaigns.’
It is estimated that eight million tonnes of plastic, which threatens wildlife and takes centuries to degrade, is dumped into the seas globally every year. As much as 40 per cent of plastic produced is ‘single-use’ and disposed of after being only used once.
The panel intends to write the Environment and Infrastructure Ministers, as well as other stakeholders, to gather material for its investigation.
The public will also be invited to submit evidence and to attend public hearings before the panel publishes a report on its findings at the end of November.
Earlier this month, Environment Minister John Young said that he hoped Jersey could achieve ‘plastic-free’ status, which is being awarded by environmental campaign group Surfers Against Sewage, by the autumn.
The Plastic Free Jersey initiative, more details of which can be found at plasticfreejersey.com, was launched earlier this year to help achieve this aim.
Submissions to the panel can be made in writing and sent to the Scrutiny Office, Morier House, Halkett Place, St Helier, JE1 1DD or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.