Setting goals for a cleaner planet.

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EU ban on single-use plastics
By Jinny Throup
In a bid to stop pollution of our landfills and oceans, the EU has called for a complete ban on a wide range of single-use plastics by 2021. The directive targets some of the most common polluting plastics such as straws, drink-stirrers, cotton buds, cutlery and plates, as there are readily available alternatives to these products. Other items, where no easy alternatives yet exist, such as burger boxes and sandwich wrappers, will still have to be reduced by 25% in each country by 2025. Another ambitious target is to ensure that 90% of all plastic drink bottles are collected for recycling by 2025.

According to the EU’s research, about 150,000 tonnes of plastic are thrown into European waters every year. This is a relatively small amount compared to the global problem. It is estimated that over 90% of the plastic in our oceans comes from just ten rivers: eight in Asia and two in Africa. Nonetheless, we need to do all that we can because plastic pollution has a huge effect on marine life. In addition, plastic does not decompose, but instead breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces to become “microplastic.” These tiny fragments often end up in fish and can then be passed on to humans.


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