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Plan to cut 50% of marine litter from EU waters by 2030

Plan would cut 50% of all marine litter from European waters by 2030


BRUSSELS: The amount of marine litter polluting European waters would be halved by 2030 under new proposals agreed today.

The European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI Committee) backed robust moves to curb sources of marine plastic pollution as part of a wider suite of measures designed to reduce waste which will form the basis for the Parliament’s vote later this year on the Circular Economy Package.

The amendments to the EU Waste Framework Directive supported by the ENVI Committee would set a target to halve levels of marine litter by 2030 as well as establish measures to promote reuse and recycling, for example by encouraging the establishment of deposit-refund schemes. The amendments would also require Member States to do more to tackle commonly littered items entering marine waters.

MEPs also agreed on amendments to the EU Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive, requiring Member States to achieve sustained reductions in packaging which is excessive or non-recyclable. Other amendments increased the ambition of recycling targets proposed by the European Commission, with 60 per cent of plastic packaging to be recycled by 2025 and 80 per cent of all packaging waste by 2030.

Sarah Baulch, Oceans Campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), welcomed the vote: “The European Parliament has considerably raised the bar on efforts to tackle the major threat of marine plastic pollution but much more needs to be done.

“Ever-increasing numbers of marine species are ingesting plastic and these amendments are just a start to achieving a significant reduction in marine plastic pollution in European waters.”

EIA Senior Lawyer Tim Grabiel added: “Today’s vote is a clear sign to EU Member States that marine plastic pollution needs to be much higher up their agendas. We urge them to ensure measures to tackle this problem are strengthened as negotiations continue.”

The Circular Economy Package is part of several ongoing efforts to rid EU waters of marine plastic pollution. The European Commission is currently considering revisions to the Port Reception Facilities (PRF) Directive, which manages waste generated at sea, and is set to release its Strategy for Plastics in the Circular Economy for public consultation which, among other things, aims to reduce plastic entering the marine environment.

EIA is part of the global #breakfreefromplastic movement which is working to stop plastic pollution.


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  1. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) investigates and campaigns against environmental crime and abuses.
  1. In a circular economy, the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible; waste and resource use are minimised and resources are kept within the economy when a product has reached the end of its life, to be used again and again to create further value.


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