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BBC NEWS 24 OCTOBER 2018 - SINGLE USE PLASTICS BAN APPROVED
The European Parliament has voted for a complete ban on a range of
single-use plastics across the union in a bid to stop pollution of the
MEPs backed a ban on plastic cutlery and plates, cotton buds, straws, drink-stirrers and balloon sticks.
The proposal also calls for a reduction in single-use plastic for food and drink containers like plastic cups.
One MEP said, if no action was taken, "by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans".
The European Commission proposed a ban in May, following a surge in public support attributed to documentaries such as
David Attenborough's BBC
Blue Planet series.
The measure still has to clear some procedural hurdles, but is expected to go through. The EU hopes it will go into effect across the bloc by 2021.
The UK will also have to incorporate the rules into national law if the ban becomes a fully-fledged directive before the end of a Brexit transition period.
After the Parliament vote was backed by 571-53, the MEP responsible for the bill, Frédérique Ries, said it was "a victory for our oceans, for the environment and for future generations."
Several countries are already considering proposals to target disposable plastic products - including the UK.
- What was on the beaches in the EU in 2016. In the UK we regularly
our beaches thanks to the Marine
LONG TO DEGRADE
- We'll not be clear of plastic for many generations to
come. Think of the marine life that will affect and how that
may come back to bite us. For this reason we need ocean
cleaning machines like SeaVax.
What's being banned?
The directive targets some of the most common ocean-polluting plastics.
The list of banned items such as cutlery and cotton buds was chosen because there are readily available alternatives, such as paper straws and cardboard containers.
Other items, "where no alternative exists" will still have to be reduced by 25% in each country by 2025. Examples given include burger boxes and sandwich wrappers.
MEPs also tacked on amendments to the plans for cigarette filters, a plastic pollutant that is common litter on beaches. Cigarette makers will have to reduce the plastic by 50% by 2025 and 80% by 2030.
Another ambitious target is to ensure 90% of all plastic drinks bottles are collected for recycling by 2025. Currently, bottles and their lids account for about 20% of all the sea plastic, the
European Parliament report said.
Manufacturers will also have to take more responsibility for what happens to their plastic products and packaging.
How big is the problem?
The EU's research on the topic says about 150,000 tonnes of plastic are tossed into European waters every year.
That is only a small contributor to the global problem, with an estimated eight million tonnes of plastic entering the world's oceans annually. And once there, plastic can travel great distances on ocean currents.
Those plastics have a huge effect on marine
Fish and large aquatic mammals can be killed by the pollution. Whales can eat plastic bags, making it impossible for them to eat real food which can eventually lead to death.
When plastic debris breaks down from wear and tear, it does not decompose the way other products like wood do - but instead breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, becoming "microplastic".
These tiny fragments often end up in fish and can then be passed on to humans.
Large volumes of plastic waste wash up on beaches, where they can be eaten by sea birds and other animals and kill them.
The European Maritime Day (EMD) is the annual meeting point for Europe’s maritime community to network, discuss, and forge joint action, in support of an integrated approach to maritime affairs. It is an inspiring, interactive and dynamic event with a strong focus on key European Commission priorities.
The EMD event was officially created on 20 May 2008 and since then is celebrated annually across
Europe on 20 May.
MARITIME DAY THEMES
2008: "A regional approach to the implementation of
2009: "Integrated Maritime Policy and the
contribution of maritime clusters"
2010: "How to foster innovation?"
2011: "Maritime Policy: Putting People First"
2012: "Sustainable Growth from the Oceans, Seas and
2013: "Coastal Development and Sustainable Maritime
2014: "Innovation driving Blue Growth"
2015: "Ports and Coasts, Gateways to Maritime
2016: "Investing in blue growth – smart and
Future of our Seas"
2018: Bulgaria "TBA"
2019: Portugal "TBA"
2020: Ireland "TBA"
Helder 2021: The Netherlands "TBA"
2022: Italy "TBA"
2023: France "TBA"
2024: Denmark "TBA"
The main event of any EMD is the European Maritime Day conference, held in a different region with a different theme each year. The EMD conference includes plenary sessions (with the participation of high level and key-experts), stakeholder workshops as well as B2B matchmaking meetings and an exhibition. It attracts regularly more than 1000 participants - policy-makers, maritime stakeholders, industry professionals and NGOs - from across the EU.
For more information about European Maritime Day, please visit
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