The Malta Independent 18 September 2021, Saturday

Roberta Metsola in impassioned plea to MEPs to back plastics ban

Wednesday, 27 March 2019, 18:03 Last update: about 3 years ago

“We are the first generation of politicians who understand the full extent of the damage being done to our environment by single-use plastics, and we are already the last generation who can still do something about it.  We must act now,” said MEP Roberta Metsola in a passionate speech to MEPs in the European Parliament.

On Wednesday, Parliament approved a new law banning single-use plastic items such as plates, cutlery, straws and cotton buds sticks. 


560 MEPs voted in favour of the agreement with EU ministers, 35 against and28 abstained. 

The following products will be banned in the EU by 2021: single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks); single-use plastic plates; plastic straws; cotton bud sticks made of plastic; plastic balloon stick; oxo-degradable plastics and food containers and expanded polystyrene cups. 

“75% of the marine litter in the world’s oceans is plastic. I represent Malta and Gozo - islands in the middle of the Mediterranean. We see the plastic on our beaches and in our fish every day. Most of it is single-use, unbiodegradable, plastic that remains in our eco-systems for centuries. It simply cannot continue at the current rate,” said MEP Metsola.

Calling on MEPs to back an EU wide-ban on certain single-use plastic products, MEP Metsola said that a ban that will finally come into force by 2021 is a huge step forward but it cannot work alone.

“We can have the best legislation in the world but change must start from each individual. The impact of small decisions can be enormous. Imagine if instead of the usual plastic bags we still see everywhere, we use boxes or cloth; or if we stopped purchasing products covered in excessive, unnecessary, plastic packaging; or if instead of throwing away a disposable cup every time we have a coffee we use re-usable flasks; if instead of the usual plastic straws we give our children paper straws or ones made out of bamboo. My point is that small, almost unnoticeable, differences in our lifestyles could make a massive difference. It simply cannot wait longer.”

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