Town hall to ‘take ac­tion’ on mass bal­loon re­leases

Middleton Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - BY JEN­NIFER WIL­LIAMS

GREATER Manch­ester could be poised for a ma­jor crack­down on party bal­loons, plas­tic straws and sin­gle-use cof­fee cups in a bid to clean up our rivers and seas.

Mayor Andy Burn­ham, Manch­ester coun­cil and the town hall’s Lib­eral Demo­crat op­po­si­tion all separately is­sued calls for a tough new ap­proach to ‘sin­gleuse’ plas­tic amid grow­ing con­cerns about its ef­fects on ma­rine life.

Manch­ester town hall’s lat­est full meet­ing agreed to ‘take ac­tion’ on the re­lease of bal­loons into the skies above Manch­ester, af­ter hear­ing how they drift over the sea and fail to biode­grade – be­fore harm­ing crea­tures such as dol­phins, tur­tles and whales, which can mis­take them for prey.

Separately, Lib Dem coun­cil­lor John Leech called for all new pub and bar li­censes to ban plas­tic straws by the end of this year, call­ing it a ‘sim­ple, easy and ef­fec­tive step’ that would save birds and an­i­mals.

Mean­while, at his first ‘green sum­mit’ for Greater Manch­ester yes­ter­day, mayor Andy Burn­ham an­nounced plans to axe sin­gle-use plas­tics from the conur­ba­tion al­to­gether by 2020.

An­nounc­ing the new cam­paign, along­side ex­foot­baller and hote­lier Gary Neville, he called on firms to ditch not only straws but also throw­away cof­fee cups, wa­ter bot­tles and sin­gle- por­tion packs of but­ter and jam over the next two years.

“It’s clear that we can­not just carry on as usual – the time has come for ac­tion,” said Mr Burn­ham.

His green sum­mit brought to­gether fig­ures from the re­gion’s tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor, among oth­ers, who joined a drive to work to­gether in or­der to wipe out such plas­tics by 2020.

Ear­lier in the day Manch­ester coun­cil agreed to take ac­tion on the re­lease of party bal­loons and the use of plas­tic straws in par­tic­u­lar.

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