First and foremost, let me assure you of my commitment to leaving the environment in a better condition than when we inherited it. I believe that we all need to be more conscious of the waste we create and the importance of recycling.
The UK Environment Bill will place environmental ambition and accountability at the heart of government. Legislative measures will be introduced to address the biggest environmental priorities of our age: air quality, nature recovery, waste and resource efficiency, and water resource management. The Bill will also put environmental ambition and accountability at the very heart of government.
That being said, most powers relating to the environment are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, meaning that it is for the Scottish Government and MSPs to decide on policy.
The best approach to stemming the flow of plastic is by taking action on land. However, an official report released earlier this year suggested that the Scottish Government's plan to ban landfill waste by 2021 is wildly off target - and could cost Scotland's economy more than £1 billion.
It is clear that everyone accepts progress has to be made when it comes to recycling and disposing of waste but the Scottish Government appear to have run out of ideas on how to do this. Our oceans are filling with plastic and other waste and, on top of this, vast quantities of Scottish plastic waste are exported rather than being recycled here in Scotland. I believe that a Scottish Recycling Plant would not only increase recycling rates, but also create jobs in Scotland. It would also ensure that plastic is not exported and then, in some cases, dropped into our rivers and oceans.
I would urge both UK and Scottish Ministers to work together to combat plastic waste on such as issues as a deposit return scheme and banning the worst offending plastic items that get into our beaches and waterways.