ENVIRONMENTAL Group The Friends of Barry Beaches have launched a petition calling on the Welsh Government to ban the use of polystyrene fast food and drinks containers throughout Wales.

They say they are “sick and tired” with removing thousands of polystyrene fast food and hot drinks containers from local Welsh beaches especially when there are bio-degradable alternatives(cardboard or cornstarch) readily available on the market.

The chairman of FoBB and also the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Visible Services on the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Councillor Rob Curtis, said: “We now need the support of the people of Wales to finally put an end to this fast food polystyrene madness. Our beach cleaning volunteers are sick and tired of removing thousands of items of polystyrene from our beaches each year. These products are made from petroleum, a non-sustainable and heavily polluting resource.

"It is costing local councils millions to clean up this mess week in week out, but it is also costing our environment a lot more. Marine animals easily mistake polystyrene for fish eggs, these in turn are eaten by larger marine animals and the polystyrene is passed on. Polystyrene takes hundreds… if not thousands of years to biodegrade, in the meantime it just gets smaller and smaller thus making it easier for our wildlife to ingest!

"But it does not have to be this way… nearly all our larger fast food chains have switched to biodegradable alternatives. Yet go to any small takeaway on the high street or at a major event and they will nearly always supply you with a polystyrene food container and hot drink cup. None of it will be recycled because it is so difficult to recycle polystyrene."

Cllr Curtis said just last month the City Council of New York unanimously decided to vote for a ban on polystyrene food containers.

He said: "It is now time for the Welsh Government to take a lead and vote to protect our communities, our countryside and our beaches from this horrendous blight.

"If you agree with us then please sign our on line petition at www.assemblywales.org/gethome/epetitions or phone 01446 736287 and leave your name and address for your own copy of the petition. And please tell your family and friends to sign as well."