MSP calls for incinerator ban

An MSP has warned Scotland risks becoming the "ashtray of Europe" unless new incinerators are banned.

Conservative Maurice Golden called for a moratorium on new incineration plants across Scotland.

Speaking in a Holyrood debate on tackling plastic pollution, he said that by 2050 the litter in the sea will outweigh fish and praised proposals to tackle this such as developing alternative materials.

He added: "If we are going to do all the positive work that has been said around plastics and around this agenda it would be incongruous to then see Scotland be the ashtray of Europe."

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The SNP's Fulton McGregor accused him to trying to "hijack" the debate.

Labour's Claudia Beamish said further exploration was needed on the merits of a moratorium while Green Mark Ruskell said incineration was "not an acceptable way" to deal with hard-to-treat domestic waste.

Mr Ruskell called for action on tackling microfibres - tiny plastic particles from synthetic clothing which enter the seas via washing machine outflows and end up in the food chain, having been found in beer, honey and tap water.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said Scotland will host a summit on marine litter as part of plans to crack down on plastic pollution.

She said the event in Oban on June 18 will help identify ways to reduce the waste in Scotland's waters.

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She accused the Conservatives of "shoehorning" in the intervention on incinerators and urged a return to the reduce, reuse, recycle approach.

Ms Cunningham highlighted recent government bans on plastic-stemmed cotton buds and microbeads and plans for a bottle deposit return scheme.

She said the recent rise in concern over plastic pollution had clearly been influenced by TV show Blue Planet.

"As individuals, as a society, as a government - there can be no doubt that we've reached a turning point in public acceptance of the need for radical change," she added.

"But that change won't be easy. Plastic has become a fundamental part of our lives. The pen I write with, the credit card I use, the takeaway coffee cups and disposable cutlery. We wrap our food in it, store our food in it, build with it.

"It would be all too easy to feel overwhelmed at the challenge. We might not be able to eradicate all plastics from our lives, but that shouldn't prevent us removing its usage where we can."

She added: "Scotland has been voted the most beautiful country in the world. It is our duty and privilege to protect and enhance that beauty, and take bold steps where they are available to us, to stem the plastic tide."