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Mayor orders cotton bags for all in Yeroskipou

The Yeroskipou mayor wants plastic bags to be a thing of the past

By Annette Chrysostomou

IN a pioneering move, Yeroskipou municipality has ordered 3,500 cotton bags for its citizens in an effort to reduce the use of plastic bags.

The decomposition of a plastic bag can take hundreds of years, and the concentration of large amounts of plastic waste is a huge burden for the environment.

As Yeroskipou mayor Michalis Pavlides said in a statement on Wednesday, he will allocate the reusable bags to all households.

In this way, he noted, the households will contribute to the reduction of the consumption of plastic bag across the island, where the average citizen uses 125 per year.

“The sound management of waste in a local authority is very important”, the mayor pointed out.

According to a study conducted by the European Parliament in 2014, Europeans used about 100 billion plastic bags every year, while in 2010 it is estimated that 99 billion plastic bags were used in the EU, corresponding to almost 200 bags per citizen.

“Ten per cent of the plastic bags used in Cyprus end up in the sea, seriously harming the marine environment,” Pavlides noted.

As stated in a 2013 European Commission working paper, at least 267 different marine species have been entangled by or ingested marine litter, including 86 per cent of all species of marine turtles, 44 per cent of all species of seabirds and 43 per cent of all marine mammals.

Plastic items, mainly bags and bottles, account for 70 per cent of marine litter in the Baltic Sea, North Sea, Celtic Sea, Bay of Biscay and various areas in the north-western basin of the Mediterranean and the Adriatic Sea.

As a result of decisions taken at EU level, member states must either impose fees on plastic bags by the end of 2018 or limit annual consumption to 90 bags per person by the end of 2019 and 40 bags per person by the end of 2025.

Meanwhile, the government is preparing legislation which will incorporate a new European directive for plastic and other bags, while a parallel aim is to promote reusable bags.

In addition, Pavlides said that his municipality has already submitted a proposal to the Environment department regarding its participation in a programme concerning the reduction of the mass production of waste, such as in the hotel industry.

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