We live on a wonderful island with inherent beauty and it is important that it is protected. The Sea Lettuce problem at St. Aubin’s has plagued the area for a number of years. Successive Governments have not taken sufficient bold action to address this issue.
A new water treatment works is to be completed by 2022 at a cost of £75 million, but this only tackles one aspect of the problem. I want to know what more the Government is planning to do to further tackle issues such as this that affect our environment, tourism and potentially impact our health.
Single Use Plastics
In 2016, world plastics production totalled around 335 million metric tons and roughly half of annual plastic production is destined for a single use market.
In Jersey we generate almost 1 tonne of rubbish per person of which around 10% is plastic each year. Even when single use plastics are sent to landfills, they are still a toxic risk to us and the environment. Landfill liners can leak harmful pollutants into the watershed and plastics on top of landfills can be carried away by the wind.
Over the last couple of years there has been a huge rise in awareness of the devastating effects to the environment single use plastics has. It is clear that the environment is in significant danger if we, as a community, do not continue to improve our approach. The States of Jersey initiative in conjunction with the Surfers Against Sewage is providing information on how we can meet this head on and help to reduce the use of single use plastics. But we be could and should be doing more.
The States of Jersey passed a resolution to support a Plastic Free Jersey, committed to plastic free alternatives and supporting plastic reduction. Whilst we have seen some improvements, the dedication to this problem by the government and engagement with locals and businesses need to advance.
As an island we should be leading by example to remove single-use plastic items from every aspect of our daily lives.
Almost all of our energy, whether gas or electric is imported. We need to more closely examine the benefits of renewable energy. The Government carried out a feasibility study in 2011 at a cost of £65,000. The report is optimistic regarding the potential for tidal stream energy from Jersey waters. It has been eight years since the report was commissioned, technology has advanced, but what has happened in the interim?
Jersey Gas and the JEC are supportive of renewable energy and have trained staff to design, install and maintain these types of systems. For home owners it can be a daunting financial prospect for these types of installation. If the Government is openly stating that they are actively looking at renewable energy resources then we need to understand how these initiatives can be taken up more widely, undertaking up to date research and how we can make these alternatives affordable for all.