The EU parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of banning single-use plastics to tackle plastic pollution on land, waterways and seas.
There will be a new directive – Single use plastic proposal – banning items such as plastic straws, cotton swabs, disposable plastic plates and cutlery by 2021, and 90% of plastic bottle recycled by 2025. The proposed legislation passed 571 votes to 53.
Labour MEPs said the EU plan must be respected by the UK after Brexit. Seb Dance, the party’s environment spokesman in the European parliament, said:
These new measures will slash the use of single-use plastics in the EU. With more than 700,000 plastic bottles littered in the UK every day, it would be negligent if the UK does not maintain these new targets if we leave the EU.
Plastic waste has been finding its way into oceans as well as persisting in the environment for decades. It causes problems by killing sea life, often important top predators like seals as well as being ingested by their prey, birds and humans by eating fish that is contaminated with plastic.
Raising awareness of the problem
Awareness of the issue has been raised by David Attenborough’s stunning Blue Planet II documentary series – Blue Planet II – which showed the wonders of the Oceans contrasted with the appalling damage wreaked by our throwaway society.
Other recent programmes like Liz Bonnin’s Drowning in Plastic, focus specifically on the issues – Drowning in Plastic. In this 90-minute special, wildlife biologist Liz Bonnin visits scientists working at the cutting edge of plastics research. She works with some of the world’s leading marine biologists and campaigners to discover the true dangers of plastic in our oceans and what it means for the future of all life on our planet, including us. There are young birds that already have stomachs filled with plastic, seals killed by discarded plastic fishing equipment and Asian rivers clogged by huge volumes of waste plastic.
Lucy Siegle’s Turning the Tide on Plastic offer practical advice on how to cut our plastic usage as well as providing a detailed context and justification on why we must act.European parliament approves ban on single use plastics
Let’s hope the UK isn’t tempted to dilute this initiative after Brexit.