Youghal GAA First to Tackle Plastic Pollution

By Seamus Whelehan

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Youghal GAA is one of the first sports clubs to declare their commitment to tackle single-use plastic. The East Cork side has teamed up with the Cork Environmental Forum in an ambitious new partnership, aimed at encouraging club members and fans, to switch to reusable water bottles, as concerns on plastic pollution increase.

The move has been welcomed by the Minister of the Environment, Richard Bruton who said he “commends the club for showing leadership in this important area.”   Anton Dillon, Youghal GAA, said the club is collecting large amounts of plastic water bottles following each training session, which are brought to a landfill.  It may just take ten minutes to drink the water but it takes centuries for the plastic to break down.  The Eochaill Óg PRO said that after reading in the East Cork Journal of the Cork Environmental Forum plan to establish a tap map of Ireland where companies registering their interest at www.refill.ie to phase out single use plastic in favour of refillable bottles, it was a “no brainier.”

Dozens of businesses have already signed up to Ireland’s first voluntary pact to tackle single use plastic bottles, where the public can refill free of charge on the go.

“When this initiative was brought to our attention we didn’t need much convincing that this is a very good idea for both the community and for our club. It’s a great privilege to be able to play a small part in influencing the habits of young people around the use of plastics.  I’m delighted that Youghal GAA has stepped up to reduce plastic-bottle waste which, ultimately, will help to keep Youghal streets, beaches and water free of waste plastic” he said.

Through the new partnership the East Cork side is encouraging other GAA clubs to support the initiative by phasing out their use of single use plastic.

The GAA has a unique ability to reach thousands across the world, and fans are being encouraged to make a simple change to stop our oceans drowning in a sea of plastic.

It is estimated that 26 million tonnes of waste plastic is produced in Europe annually with experts claiming that, by 2050, we could have more plastics than fish in our oceans.  Ireland is the worst offender when it comes to plastic waste, with over 60kg being generated per person per year.

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