As the world finally wakes up to the plague of plastic pollution, I’m delighted to see one company from Airdrie at the forefront of the battle to tackle this epidemic. Many of you may have already seen the horrific pictures from the excellent Sir David Attenborough programme The Blue Planet II of the Hawksbill turtle caught up in a plastic sack. Sir David made a passionate plea on the back of the image calling for action to tackle the problem, which kills around one million birds and over one hundred thousand sea mammals per year. These creatures perish after eating or getting tangled in plastic waste.
I had the privilege last week of visiting CuanTec, which is based at BioCity, to see first-hand how it’s taking up Sir David’s challenge by making compostable, antimicrobial bioplastic from waste from the fisheries industry. In layman’s terms: an edible biodegradable clear plastic film wrapper, that will do no harm to any animal that digests it and will cut down on food waste by prolonging shelf-life by up to 48 hours. Doctors Ryan Taylor and Cait Murray-Green and their small team have created a product that could potentially transform the way we use plastic in the future, an impressive achievement for a small company from Chapelhall.
I’m not the only one who thinks so, recently CuanTec won a prestigious Scottish EDGE award – which acknowledges the work being done by start-up businesses. All that innovation comes at a price and the company is looking for funding to expand its research and development in a product that has many industry leaders showing interest in their products.
That’s why I am delighted that the Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a £60million package in the battle to clean up our oceans. She has gone even further and is looking to ban a host of plastic products, including straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds. Products that CuanTec's bio-plastic could easily replace. The PM has also challenged the other 52 Commonwealth leaders to sign up to the newly formed Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance, showing that this really is a global fight, but one that is spearheaded from the heart of Lanarkshire.
On another subject, I have been inundated by messages from motorists frustrated by the state of the roads across Lanarkshire. I have been getting a string of complaints and I also play dodge-the-pothole myself on a daily basis. Councils maintain some roads but they are not responsible for trunk roads – that’s dual carriageways and motorways. The M74 road surface around the Raith interchange has some appalling potholes and the road surface is crumbling only a couple of years after being re-laid.
It seems no time since the offending pothole is fixed then it reappears due to the poor standard of repair, leaving motorists counting the cost with a sharp increase in claims for repairing their damaged vehicles. According to one survey, potholes collectively cost motorists just under a staggering £700 million annually in car repairs, with motorists making a claim every 17 minutes.
On the back of this, I have created a survey on the state of the trunk roads across Lanarkshire
If you would like to take part, then please do so using this LINK. It will only take a few moments to complete.
Once the survey period is finished, I will pass on the results to the authorities.