The dramatically devastating effects of plastic pollution on our planet and its biology are often overlooked, forgotten, and even denied by leading politicians around the globe. Fortunately, there are people in Europe who are clearly trying to change how their governments handle plastic waste. According to the European Commission, there are only 10 items which make up 70% of the waste in European waters; that’s why the European Commission is currently proposing legislation that will ban these items in Europe. As promising as this may sound, it will take an extensive amount of time and work to make the European Commission’s dreams a reality. Just passing the legislation will require support from all EU member states as well as the European parliament, which some estimate could easily take three or four years.
The proposal includes banning plastic straws, cotton buds, plastic cutlery, balloon sticks, and drink stirrers among other items. There is also the proposed idea of working to collect at least 90% of plastic bottles and recycling them by 2025. The EU believes that said changes will help to prevent “3.4 million tonnes” of carbon emissions. As exciting as these new European ideas certainly are, more needs to be done around the world (and quickly). Europe can’t be the only part of the world that has government’s that are sensible and logical enough to realize that something needs to be done about plastic waste and pollution. Being aware of one’s individual plastic consumption as well as effective ways to decrease said consumption is necessary and important. However, for individual efforts to succeed at the macro level, legislators must also do their part. The governments of the United States, China, and the rest of the world need to come together to discuss this ever-increasing world problem- and it can’t take three or four years!