Reducing sea litter by half: the challenge of EU environmentalists

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11 associations ask the EU Parliament for binding reduction targets of at least 50% by 2025.

A binding target for the reduction of sea littering of at least 50% by 2025. This is what 11 environmental associations asked of the European Union in a letter signed by the European Environmental Bureau (EBB), which gathers 140 European associations among which the Italian Legambiente , and by Zero Waste Europe, Friends of Earth Europe, Surfrider Foundation Europe and Seas at Risk. Their message contains ten key points, among which is the above mentioned binding target to halve sea litter by 2025.

One of the ways chosen to achieve the key points is the gradual elimination of unnecessary packaging, non-reusable packaging and disposable plastic items”. The environmentalist associations are pressuring Brussels to increase the target. The current proposal of the EU Commission is no more than 30%.

“Only about 25% of all plastic waste is effectively recycled and nearly 50% of plastic waste is still landfilled in the EU. This is far too much”, says European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella, who proposed a target of 55% of plastic packaging recycling by 2025. “We will be […] addressing issues like recycling, biodegradability, the presence of hazardous substances in plastics, and marine litter. The work has already started and the strategy will be adopted next year”, added Vella.

“We think we should be serious – says Gaelle Haut of Surfrider Foundation Europe – we can’t say we’ll be ambitious and then set a non-binding target to reduce by just one third of the pollution that hits one of the most vulnerable and precious environments we have: the sea covers 70% of our planet, ensures our biodiversity, gives us food, health, well being”. Italy could have a leading role in this challenge. “Italy has proven its leadership in the past with fighting plastic bag pollution: it was the first country to ban them from its territory – adds Haut – With 7,500 km of shores, Italy has the huge responsibility of adopting challenging measures against marine littering”.

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