DEMAND for single-use plastic has skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Whether for personal protective equipment, safety screens, or single-use plastic products, such as take-out containers, plastic bags, and packaging.

The increased use of plastic has had negative consequences for our city’s cleanliness and has generated litter on our streets, and roadsides, as well as in our rivers, canals and public spaces.

Plastic pollution is causing harm to people’s mental health and wellbeing across Glasgow. During lockdown measures, which have required people to stay at home, litter has remained a serious concern, making people feel angry, sad or depressed.

It is also vital that we consider the effects on other forms of life and take forward plans to dispose of plastics properly to protect our nature.

This rise in the use of single-use plastic, including face masks, is slowly destroying our planet and our wildlife in the process.

Disposable face masks can be mistaken for jellyfish, the main food source for turtles and other ocean animals. There is an emerging threat to animals through entrapment, entanglement and ingestion of PPE and its inclusion as nesting material by birds.

Our litter problem can be prevented if everyone makes the effort to keep Glasgow clean and tidy. We have to set an example to other cities and show that we can stop litter blighting our communities. There have been significant changes in the way people socialise throughout the pandemic which affects the rubbish locally. Instead of meeting friends in pubs, restaurants and homes, people are gathering in the parks and open spaces in ways that they haven’t previously.

Consequently, waste including pizza boxes, bottles and cups is discarded in public, with people using these spaces but not thinking through the repercussions of their behaviour.

There is a throwaway culture supporting a tendency to use disposable rather than regular reusable items.

As a result, plastic has been given a new lifeline, but if the associated environmental challenges created by Covid-19 are not properly addressed we will be contributing to a new pandemic – a plastic pandemic.

Our focus has to be on ensuring that the services provided by the council make it much easier to recycle and reuse.

We have to step-up investment in council recycling services to increase the different plastics that can be processed.

Green councillors this week secured agreement that the Council’s Recycling Strategy will be strengthened, including exploring ways to recycle more kinds of plastic, and to secure much-needed investment in services.

It is vital that we minimise the amount of litter and its effect on nature by supporting the use of reusable alternatives rather than single use items where possible.

Plastic Free activities are being led by businesses, schools, community groups and individuals to stop the supply and demand of single-use plastic.

This weekend, you can help by choosing chocolate without plastic packaging.

The plastic used for Easter eggs is usually not recyclable and may end up in landfill or the oceans.

It’s clear we will all need to up our efforts to stop the rising plastic pollution.