A North Richmond Councillor has given her maiden speech nearly four years after she was elected and it was all about fighting plastic waste.

In what was praised as a “beautiful speech”, Councillor Margaret Buter, who became the first Zambian to enter the British political system in 2014, spoke of the need to tackle the problem of plastic waste by supporting local and national awareness campaigns, encouraging the use of recyclable bottles, and by providing recycling bins all around the borough.

She said: “In Australia they are going to ban usage of plastic bags in all supermarkets by the year 2018.

“As premier Mark McGowan said, ‘plastic can blow all over the place.

“‘It can blow into our rivers, our wetlands and our oceans and it kills marine life.’

“I think this is a reasonable incentive of which we in Richmond we can adopt.

“The government here has said the single use plastic bags will be curbed by 2042.

“We cannot wait in Richmond until 2042 to have measures of reducing plastic waste.

“We need to implement similar measures like the Australian model as a prerequisite of Prime Minister Theresa May’s 25 year plastic reduction plan.”

Cllr Buter spoke of how Mrs May recently committed to incorporating all existing EU environmental regulations into domestic legalisation after Brexit.

She added: “I would hope, on our watch, we will contribute to correcting the human mistakes destroying our planet, ecosystems, wildlife both fauna and flora, oceans, seas, rivers, wetlands and marine life and our environment by bringing a lasting change for future generations.

“This is a win-win for Richmond.”

Cllr Buter told the Richmond and Twickenham Times that she wanted reducing plastic waste to be her “legacy”, and something that would be “an honour” to do.

She said: “I decided to take the opportunity given to me to speak on an environmental concern, that is very current, and leave a lasting solution for Richmond.

“This came about from a motion tabled by Cllr Pamela Fleming at the full council for Richmond to be the leading borough in reducing single use plastics and promoting reusable bottles and cups.

“I love wildlife conservation and the environment.

“I have found this to be one of my callings in life and I am excited to be a conservationist and environmentalist and seek to achieve some of my future dreams and goals in these areas.”

“I love Richmond and I have been privileged to serve as a local government politician in this borough. I am proud to be a role model and to leave this legacy for future generations.”

The joint deputy Cllr leader Pamela Fleming congratulated Cllr Buter on her speech, while leader Paul Hodgins said she “delivered it beautifully”.