Big News! The European Union Voted To Completely Ban Single Use Plastics

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By Mayukh Saha

The world right now is in a tricky place. There is a lot going wrong and right at the same time, so it often becomes difficult to keep a track of things. One of the major concerns of our times is the amount of plastic that we utilise. Plastic is majorly non-biodegradable, always has and continues to cause a lot of problems as far as protecting the environment is concerned.

The ocean is the primary sufferer in this case and we have all seen the kind of horrors it causes underwater, endangering the lives of so many organisms, plants, and so on.

An example shows how plastic straw ended up in the nostril of this turtle:

Aquatic life is threatened every day, thanks to faulty waste management systems but that is a war that has been on for way too long. There is also a lack of awareness and sensibility in people in general- not a lot of people think twice before chucking plastic right into the nearest water body they see. However, this might not be the people’s fault only. The administration in most countries have taken far too long to come up with separate bins for plastic and if you look closely, a lot of countries still don’t have a proper system.

This deadly lack of awareness among the masses and the indifference of the system as a whole is responsible for all the chaos that is caused on a daily basis. Waste management systems mostly focus on burning waste items but every time plastic is burnt, harmful fumes are released into the atmosphere. So, essentially, plastic has been wreaking havoc both on air and water, not to forget on land, where it has been clogging drains, sewage, filling up landfills and what not.

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But good times are coming. Change is on the horizon. Good news even though a little late is always commendable. If you have not heard, recently, the European Union passed a motion with a roaring 573 out of 621 in favour of it. The European Union has always showed a lot of interest in contributing to international waste management and this is definitely a step in that direction. They have banned spoons, straws and stirrers. Frans Timmermans, the Vice President of the European Union Commissions has expressed his concerns about plastic polluting the ocean irretrievably, which is why it is imperative that we do this as soon as possible. The fish have to breathe as well, you see.

While the ban is a huge step forward, the EU is still awaiting the go-ahead of the states concerned. This might take a little more effort on EU’s part because some states are not too sure about the ban yet- a complete ban on all single use plastics is not exactly a walk in the park. We, however, are hopeful.

What might contribute greatly to the approval of all the other states is the fact that there is already an alternative for everything that is to be banned, an alternative that will not harm the environment.

The EU aims to have the ban come to life by 2021, so let us hope for the best!

IMAGE CREDIT: Richard Whitcombe

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