On Wednesday 24 October, MEPs voted in favour of stricter rules to eliminate single-use plastic items to protect the maritime environment.
The vote represents the first step towards the restoration of a safer and healthier marine ecosystem in the planet. The current level of sea pollution is critical. The EU commission estimates that more than 80% of marine litter is plastics, which implies that oceans could contain more plastics than fish by 2050.
These prompted MEPs to support the ambitious draft proposal that encompasses a total ban on certain single-use plastic items, which are alternatively available on other pro – environment materials such as cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, certain oxo-plastic products and polystyrene fast food containers.
The rules set on the proposal are expected to ensure more accountability from producers in the plastic industry, while pushing for a national consumption reduction targets of 25% by 2025 on the use of food containers, and of 50% by 2025 on cigarette plastic filters.
The proposal, which was adopted with 571 votes to 53 and 34 abstentions, aims to reverse the ongoing trend of increasing oceans’ pollution. As a way forward, the EU Parliament (EP) will enter into negotiations with Council when EU ministers will have set their own position on the file.