EC Mulls Draconian Measures to Restrict Plastic Bags Use
The European Commission is putting forward Monday a proposal that aims to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags throughout the EU.
Through amendments of the directive on packaging or packaging waste, Member States will have the flexibility to choose between a number of measures, including charges, national reduction targets and a ban, EC reports in a press release.
"In 2010, an estimated 98.6 billion plastic carrier bags were placed on the EU market, which amounts to every EU citizen using 198 plastic carrier bags per year. Out of these almost 100 billion bags, the vast majority are lightweight bags, which are less frequently re-used than thicker ones. Consumption figures vary greatly between Member States, with annual use per capita of lightweight plastic carrier bags ranging between an estimated 4 bags in Denmark and Finland and 466 bags in Poland, Portugal and Slovakia. The low weight and small size of plastic bags means they often escape waste management and end up in the marine environment, where their eventual decay can take hundreds of years," the Commission says.
It further notes that some Member States have already taken action to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags through pricing measures, agreements with the retail sector and bans on certain types of bags, but no specific measures exist at the EU level. In March 2011 EU environment ministers discussed the environmental impact of plastic carrier bags and the concerns they raised indicated that effective EU action is needed.
The proposal builds on feedback from stakeholders gathered during a public consultation in summer 2011.
EC stresses that the longevity of plastic bags means that there are now some 250 billion plastic particles with a combined weight of 500 metric tons floating in the Mediterranean Sea alone. These particles can cause suffocation in sea creatures that ingest them accidentally or mistake them for food. Plastics break into tiny particles, and have a high potential for contaminating soil and waterways as they may contain additives such as persistent organic pollutants.
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"EC Mulls Draconian Measures to Restrict Plastic Bags Use".
Novinite; what a stupid and ignorant headline on this article. There is nothing "draconian" about banning non bio-degradable plastic bags. They are the largest source of man made pollution on this planet. They have been banned in many countries including Australia and it is very easy to adapt to living without them.