Smoking ban anniversary - Now for plastics

It is impossible to estimate how many lives have been saved by the ban on smoking in the workplace which was introduced 15 years ago.

Though vigorously opposed by the tobacco sector, the exclusion was an important catalyst in pushing social change.

Now smoking has become a minority interest and thankfully more the exception than the rule.

It would be impossible to explain to a young worker today that had they been in an Irish office even in the last decade of the last century they would have had to cope with a fog of unwelcome smoke.

The change has been a success and it is time to emulate it on another plane — one even more pressing than a smoking ban was 15 years ago.

Our world is faced with a number of environmental crises, one of which is the never-ending tsunami of waste plastic killing our oceans.

We should, as so many other societies are considering, ban plastic drinking bottles.

No doubt the usual self-interested furor would follow but in 15 years’ time the benefits would be all too obvious.

No banning them hardly bears thinking about.

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