A HELENSBURGH and Lomond resident who frequently picks up litter washed up on the shoreline has welcomed the news that the sale and manufacturing of plastic-stemmed cotton buds is to be banned.

Scottish environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham has announced plans that would see Scotland become the first country in the UK to ban then in a bid to protect the environment.

Erling Baldorf, from Craigendoran, who noted the large amount of the buds down to the coast of Craigendoran has welcomed the news as a "step in the right direction".

On Friday he took a walk along the shoreline and during the ten minutes he was there managed to pick up approximately 50 plastic cotton buds among other pieces of rubbish.

He said: "There was a meeting with many environmental groups from around Argyll and Bute some years ago in Victoria Halls and I pointed out that the worst things found was these cotton buds found on the coast and that they seem to get through the filters at the sewer works, but the result was just a shake of the shoulders and "that's how it is!"

"Thankfully someone else has now managed to do a bit more!

"It will of course help if the buds are made of either paper or wood as that will disappear by time, but first of all don't throw them in the toilet and flush.

"But the ban will also help on the general use of them, the plastic won't go in the bin and then into landfill.

"So yes,it will certainly help in more than one way and even a small step in the right direction is better than doing nothing!"

Helensburgh Community Council convener Norman Muir welcomed the news that plastic stemmed cotton buds are to be banned but believes that they are just part of a wider issue.

He said: "The cotton bud sticks are but a symptom of the litter epidemic in our area. We have taken on board the issues of the environment and recycling in the Community Council and are getting educated on the quite complex issues involved. 

"It will be a major element of our work this year and we hope to increase public awareness and involvement in Helensburgh." 

Surveys by the Marine Conservation Society consistently list plastic cotton buds in the top ten forms of beach litter.

Plastic cotton buds are consistently listed in the top ten forms of beach litter in surveys by the Marine Conservation Society.

Announcing the move Ms Cunningham said: “Banning plastic cotton buds would be a clear sign of our ambition to address marine plastics and demonstrate further leadership on this issue. Despite various campaigns, people are continuing to flush litter down their toilets. This has to stop.

“Scotland’s sewerage infrastructure collects and treats some 945 million litres of wastewater each day. These systems are not designed to remove small plastic items such as plastic buds which can kill marine animals and birds that swallow them.

“These products are completely unnecessary as biodegradable alternatives are readily available. The need for action is clear and I would encourage everyone with an interest in safeguarding our natural environment to take part in the consultation when it opens.”