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European Union Intensifies The Fight Against Plastic Pollution, Bans Ten Most Common Single-Use Plastic Products

The single-use plastic ban is part of the comprehensive ‘Single-Use Plastics Directive’, aimed at reducing ocean pollution

As per the UN, Europeans generate 25 million tonnes of plastic waste every year but less than 30 per cent is collected for recycling

New Delhi: “If we don’t change the way we produce and use plastics, there will be more plastics than fish in our oceans by 2050. Today we have taken an important step to reduce littering and plastic pollution in our oceans and seas,” said the First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, as he announced the European Union’s move to ban ten most used single-use plastic by 2021.

The ban, part of the comprehensive ‘Single-Use Plastics Directive’, is aimed at reducing ocean pollution, which consists of about 80 per cent plastic as per United Nations Environment Programme. The banned products include cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, sticks for balloons, as well as cups, food and beverage containers made of single-use plastic, for which eco-friendly alternatives exist.

Also Read: Go Green: Five Everyday Hacks That Will Help Beat Plastic Pollution

The Single-Use Plastics Directive also includes schemes to cover the cost to clean-up litter, applied to products such as tobacco filters and fishing gear.

Shifting the responsibility of plastic waste management on manufacturers, the EU directive mentions that tobacco companies and producers of fishing gear should have to cover the costs of waste collection for those products, including transport, treatment and litter collection. The directive further states that by 2025, plastic bottles should be made of 25 per cent recycled content, and by 2029, 90 per cent of them should be recycled.

Additionally, the EU is tackling the menace of wet wipes that clog sewers in the form of ‘fatbergs’. A fatberg is a congealed mass in a sewer system formed by the combination of non-biodegradable solid matter.

Also Read: Fighting Plastic Pollution: How United Kingdom Is Effectively Paving The Way

As per the directive, wet wipes, sanitary towels, tobacco filters, and cups will be labelled if they are made with plastic and their packaging will warn consumers of the environmental damage that would be caused by disposing of these items incorrectly.

Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, said during the panel meet,

Once implemented, the new rules will not only prevent plastic pollution, but also make the European Union the world leader in a more sustainable plastic policy and yield environment as well as economic benefits.

In 2015, the European Commission adopted regulations that required member states to either start charging for single-use plastic bags or ban them altogether. The proposed directive follows a similar approach to the successful 2015 Plastic Bags Directive, which brought about a rapid shift in consumer behavior, reads a statement issued by the EU.

As per the UN, Europeans generate 25 million tonnes of plastic waste every year but less than 30 per cent is collected for recycling. 80 per cent of marine litter comprising plastic, instances of plastic residue found in marine species – such as fish, sea turtles, seals, whales and birds and therefore in the human food chain has increased by 40 per cent in the last decade, according to the EU. Nearly 700 marine species in world oceans are threatened by plastic. In such a grave scenario, a move to reduce plastic usage and curtail indiscriminate dumping of plastic waste flow is the need of the hour.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollutionclean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies

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