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European Parliament Resorts To Voting To Enforce Law For Banning Single-Use Plastic By 2021

To enforce the ban of single-use plastic cutlery, cotton buds, straws, and stirrers, the European Parliament voted against plastic waste that pollutes oceans and plunders beaches.

MEPs vote will ensure enforcing a ban on single-use plastics in all EU member states by 2021. If the UK participated in it, it would have to adhere to the rules along with extending the Brexit transition period on account of the delays in searching for a fresh arrangement with the European Union.

plastic bottles on beach
Source: Conserve Energy Future

The UK environment secretary, Michael Gove, who previously denied that European commission was one step ahead to cut down plastic pollution, also wants to curb single-use plastics.

“There is some concern that EU laws mean that we can’t ban straws at the moment, but I’m doing everything I can to ensure that we end this scourge and I hope to make an announcement shortly,” said Gove, the prominent supporter of Brexit during the referendum campaign.

With a view to target the most common plastic beach litter, the said directive will help ban single-use cups of polystyrene and oxo-degradable plastics that disintegrate into tiny fragments.

The reduction in the use of plastic food containers and plastic lids for hot drinks require EU member states to introduce effective new measures. By 2025, 25% of recycled content should be used in plastic bottles while 90% of them should be recycled by 2029.

Wet wipes help to clog sewers in the form of “fatbergs,” but the EU required tackling the affliction of wet pipes. The products that are made with plastic such as wet wipes, sanitary towels, tobacco filters, and cups will be labeled. Therefore, the consumers will be aware of the packaging that those will cause environmental damage if not disposed of correctly.

The principle of “polluter pays” will be extended to fishing nets manufacturers that in case nets lost at sea so that companies pay the cost instead of fishing crews.

Frans Timmermans, a European Commission vice-president, who has spearheaded the plan, said: “Today we have taken an important step to reduce littering and plastic pollution in our oceans and seas. We got this, we can do this. Europe is setting new and ambitious standards, paving the way for the rest of the world.”

560 MEPs voted at the sitting in Strasbourg, in favor of the recent agreement along with EU ministers, while 35 voted against it, with 28 abstentions. There are formalities to pass the directives before publishing it in the EU rulebook. Once that is done it will take around two years time to implement the directive.

Europeans generate plastic waste of 25m tonnes every year and out of that below 30% get used in recycling whereas 80 % and more spoil our oceans in the form of plastic litter.

Arindom Ghosh

A professional writer, blogger, copywriter, and a member of the International Association of Professional Writers and Editors, New York. He has been part of many reputed domestic and global online magazines and publications. An avid reader and a nature lover by heart, when he is not working, he is probably exploring the secrets of life.
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