Town hall to ‘take action’ on mass balloon releases
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.