NTM welcomes new EU proposal on single-use plastic
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The European Union Commission proposal announced this week to eliminate the 10 most common single use plastics and lost, abandoned and discarded fishing gear that makes up a high percentage of marine litter has been welcomed by Nature Trust – FEE Malta.
In a statement the eNGO said that, “this is a great step forward and the European Union has once again shown that it is the world leader in environment and sustainable development.”
This is being done in order to control litter and plastic marine debris ending up in the sea, said NTM. “Today, the amount of plastic found in our oceans and seas is very high with studies claiming that by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the sea.”
It pointed out that, “the same fish we eat is contaminated with plastics and microplastics, meaning that the consumer is eating plastic while eating fish and seafood.”
Furthermore, it said, wildlife such as turtles are dying premature deaths due to this high plastic litter in our seas.
NTM went on to say that a high percentage of the turtles rescued across the globe are often found to have ingested plastic. This can cause inflammation, infection and deaths.
NT-FEE Malta said that in its wildlife rescue operations it has come across turtles with plastic bags in their stomach, a case of a turtle with a plastic bag with bolts in the stomach and the death of a 500kg leatherback turtle with cause of death being the ingestion of a balloon.
The eNGO recently embarked on a campaign to eliminate the practice of releasing Helium balloons from events.
“Such balloons are damaging to the environment as they eventually end up in the sea. Biodegradable balloons are not a solution as these also take time to degrade and can still be ingested by animals, it said.
The issue was also taken up by the students of Gozo College Victoria Primary – The Happy School in Gozo – while participating in Eco Schools, who took interest in the issue and researched the topic.
This led to the same students and their teachers raising the issue in the Maltese Parliament. The students highlighted the negative impact on marine life and the environment in general and offered alternatives such as soap bubbles and pigeon releases.
NT-FEE Malta went on to say that this also led to the first environment friendly opening of this year’s Puttinu Campaign with regards to the 60 hour football Marathon where, through the students proposal, the organisers included soap bubbles and pigeons instead of the usual release of balloons in the air. This was commended by many and showed that such events can celebrate life for all, it said.
The eNGO concluded by saying that it is now embarking on an education campaign in the Maltese Islands and commends other similar campaigns by other individuals and groups with the same aim.
Photo: NT-FEE Malta – from Facebook, as sent by one of their followers showing balloons in Rabat Malta