The threat to the environment posed by single-use plastics is highlighted at a charity event being launched tonight (Friday).
UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man and Manx Wildlife Trust have collaborated to create a plastic-themed Christmas tree for Save the Children’s Festival of Trees, being held at the Isle of Man Airport.
The Isle of Man Government is already implementing a Single Use Plastics Reduction Plan within the organisation and publishes the second part of the plan, encouraging the entire community to shun plastics for more environmentally friendly solutions, next year.
Manx Wildlife Trust’s Wave Goodbye to Plastic campaign and its #ManxPlasticPledge has gained cross-community support and is influencing a move away from single-use plastics.
The 10-foot Christmas tree is the work of Manx Wildlife Trust volunteers.
The traditional tree is shrouded in recycled plastics, depicting the smothering of nature by the material when carelessly discarded.
It is decorated with thousands of #ManxPlasticPledge promises, completed by schoolchildren and members of the public who are eager to make a difference.
Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said: ‘In granting the Isle of Man Biosphere status, UNESCO recognised how special our environment is.
‘Carelessly discarded plastic has a detrimental impact on our Biosphere and we are working to raise awareness and reduce use.
‘The Festival of Trees is a high-profile event attracting residents and visitors passing through the airport over the busy Christmas period.
‘We hope our tree will provide food for thought over the damage single-use plastics can cause to nature, wildlife and our scenic Island but cause for optimism in terms of people’s pledges to bring about change.’
Dr Tim Graham, CEO of Manx Wildlife Trust, said: ‘Christmas gifts, wrapping, parties, additional socialising and decorations all add to the amount of plastics in circulation and potentially entering the environment at this time of the year and our tree symbolises the harm this can do.
‘However, its tinsel is made up of creative and imaginative public pledges to use sustainable alternatives to plastic, and we hope these will inspire others to join the wave of change happening in the Isle of Man.’
The Festival of Trees is launched tonight by His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor.
It features 21 trees entered by schools, charities and businesses.
The event is in its 17th year and raises thousands of pounds for the charity annually. It runs until 6th January 2019 and the public can vote for their favourite trees.