European Parliament has voted to ban an extensive amount of single-use plastic items to slow the detrimental environmental pollution affecting the world’s oceans and waterways.

The approved plan, which was passed 571-53, with the overwhelming majority supporting the restriction, will ban single-use plastic items such as plastic straws, cutlery, cotton swabs, and disposable plates by 2021. EU states will also be obligated to recycle 90 per cent of plastic bottles by 2025, and the producers of such bottles will be obliged to aid in the costs of waste management.

Under the new legislation, EU states would require tobacco companies to cover the cost of cigarette butt collection and processing in an effort to reduce the numbers of cigarettes disposed of in the environment by 80 per cent in the next 12 years.

Lidl to Remove Non-Recyclable Black Plastic Packaging from All Fruit and Veg

Fishing companies will also be held responsible for marine waste, with the bill requiring producers of fishing gear to ensure that at least 50% of lost or abandoned plastic fishing gear be collected each year.

There are eight million metric tons of plastic thrown into the ocean each year, and, if society continues down this route, by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than there will be fish, according to the Earth Day Network. This proposed directive is an initial step made by the European Union to combat marine pollution and pave the way to a plastic-free ocean.

 

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By Brianne Doherty

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