In great news for the environment this week, the European Parliament overwhelmingly backed the ban on single-use plastics last week. They’re doing so in an effort to battle the widespread pollution of the waterways, seas as well as fields.
With this new directive, things like cotton swabs, plastic straws, along with disposable eating utensils like plastic cutlery and plates are going to be banned all over the European Union by 2021. Furthermore, they are also going to be recycling up to 90% of the plastic bottles by 2025. And according to the MEPs in the UK, they stated that Britain must also respect this plan even after Brexit because there are over 700,000 plastic bottles thrown away all over the country each day.
This proposal on the ban of single-use plastics was approved in October, with a vote of 571 to 53. The proposal clarified that the top 10 single-use plastics take up about three-quarters of all pollution in the sea, which equals anywhere between 4.8 to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic in the sea each year. Along with these bans, the EU is also banning any oxo-degradable plastics, like fast-food container and plastic bags. However, with these latter items, they are already going to be reduced by about 25 percent by 2025 with the proposal.
The European Parliament has also begun the negotiations with the European Council of government ministers for all the 28 member states. They are going to be making the final decision on this legislation by mid-December. The member of the European Parliament that drafted this bill, Frédérique Ries, stated that this was the most ambitious legislation, as well as a directive. However, this bill is extremely important for the marine environment, along with reducing all of the costs of environmental damage that is caused by pollution from plastic within Europe. And with this bill, Europe will be able to save about 22 billion euros (over 25 billion dollars) by 2030.
Finally, after countless studies that show how much pollution we have on our planet, and all the way to finding microplastics in different stool samples from eight people from all over the world, we are going to start battling something we created ourselves, which was long overdue.