Cyprus Mail

EU drive to reduce plastic waste in 2021 will be enforced in Cyprus too


As disposable masks and gloves have become essential tools for protecting people, last year saw an increase in plastic rubbish in the environment in Cyprus, coordinator of the project Keep our Sand and Sea Plastic Free Panayiota Koutsofta said on Tuesday.

“In 2021, with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, more people started appreciating simple walks outside. However, disposable items such as masks and gloves, but also knives, forks and straws, are often left as ‘souvenirs’ in nature,” she told the Cyprus News Agency.

“2021 marks the year in which a new EU directive aimed at reducing plastic pollution will come into effect.”

The directive specifically targets marine pollution, with the European Commission set to ban the ten most common disposable plastic items that are found as rubbish in nature and for which there are greener alternatives on the market, such as plastic cutlery, plates, straws and drink stirrers, as well as plastic balloon supports.

“By July 3 these products will not be available in the market of Cyprus,” said Koutsofta.

“The government has also vowed to take additional measures to reduce the use of disposable plastic items. Supermarkets and stores will stop selling thin plastic bags, as all customers will be responsible for taking their own bags, preferably made of cloth so they can be reused.”

Koutsofta claimed that according to international studies the average person litters the environment with five grams of plastic per week, which is the weight of a credit card.

“Moreover, microplastic particles that have been found in the placenta of unborn babies are causing great concern to the scientific community,” she said.

“Our project’s goal is to help people rethink some of their habits and start avoiding using unnecessary plastic items in their day-to-day routine.”

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