An overwhelming majority in the European Parliament voted to strengthen the European Commission’s plan to cut pollution from single-use plastic items. The Parliament voted to ban some of the most problematic throwaway products, such as expanded polystyrene food containers, and to ensure producers are held accountable for the costs of single-use plastic pollution. For fishing gear, one of the largest contributors to marine litter, harmonised standards will be developed and minimum collection and recycling targets will be set at the EU level.
VOICE Ireland, members of the Rethink Plastic Alliance, joined other environmental groups in Brussels last week to discuss plastic legislation with MEPs.
“After meeting with Irish MEPs last week, I am delighted to see they are with us in the fight against single use plastics”, says VOICE coordinator, Mindy O’Brien. “I hope this will be the push we need for Irish government to take action on plastics too.”
The outcome is positive, but campaigners are not fully satisfied.
“We still have a lot of work to do”, explains Mindy from VOICE, “We have to continue fighting industry and ensure strong legislation.”
A leaked letter recently exposed how major plastic polluters such as Coca-Cola, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Danone are lobbying national environment ministers to water down the directive.
Representatives of EU national governments are expected to meet later this month to agree on their joint position, and the three-way negotiations between governments, the European Parliament, and the European Commission could then start as soon as early November.
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