The impact of Scottish Government proposals to limit the use of single use plastic straws and cups is to have input from an adviser on disability issues.
It was earlier this year that the Scottish Government announced a ban on the manufacture and sale of plastic stemmed buds. It also indicated its intention to go ahead with a deposit return scheme for drinks containers.
The 2017 survey of Marine Litter produced shocking results on the amount of plastic litter.
The single use plastic straw has now come under scrutiny with many schools, cafes and the Scottish Parliament already getting rid of them. In 2017 the Scottish Parliament refreshment areas used 4,000 plastic drinking straws. They now use paper based ones.
The campaign has been very successful, however, such has been the speed of success that the impact on people with a disability by banning their use had been given little thought until campaign groups and individuals pointed it out.
As a result of these concerns a disability adviser has now been appointed to the Scottish Government’s expert panel.
Professor Kate Sang is a Professor of Gender and Employment Studies and a Disability Co-ordinator at Heriot Watt University. She will advise the panel on equalities issues and lived experience, and on the potential implications for disabled people of the group’s proposals.
Professor Sang said:
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to support the work of the expert panel.
“I look forward to working with the panel to ensure that disability issues are considered alongside technical matters to sustainable solutions, for example, to the production and use of single use plastics.
“In addition to my own experiences as a disabled person, I hope to bring my research with disabled people to the recommendations of the panel, ensuring that the work is sensitive the variety of needs of disabled people in a way which supports the aims of the panel.”
Roseanna Cunningham Environment Secretary in the Scottish Government said:
“I would like to warmly welcome Professor Sang to the role. Her expertise will be vital in shaping our policy and creating environmentally-friendly ways to encourage long-term, sustainable changes in consumer and producer behaviour in Scotland.
“Professor Sang will advise the panel on issues that will or could have an impact on disabled people. One such issue is how we identify ways to reduce plastic waste such as single-use plastic straws, whilst ensuring that people who depend upon them are not disadvantaged. Professor Sang’s expertise and experience will be invaluable.”