Tuesday June 18, 2019
Home Lead Story The EU Comes ...

The EU Comes Closer To Banning Single-Use Plastics

The European Parliament agreed to lower emissions limits for new vehicles from 2030.

0
//
Microplastics, plastic, EU
Plastic bottles and other plastics, including a mop, lie washed up on the bank of the River Thames in London, Britian. VOA

Plastic knives just won’t cut it any longer, if the European Union (EU) has its way.

The 28-nation bloc moved closer to banning single-use straws, plates, cutlery and cotton swabs, after officials from EU member states and the European Parliament on Wednesday backed recommendations by its executive branch designed to reduce marine pollution.

Environmental campaigners have been calling for curbs on throwaway plastic that’s accumulating in the oceans because, unlike organic materials, it doesn’t decompose but simply breaks down into ever smaller pieces.

Scientific studies have found minuscule particles known as microplastics are being consumed by animals throughout the food chain, though the impact on human health is unclear.

plastic, vietnam, EU
An environmentalist checks the quality of the water near dead fishes. VOA

“When we have a situation where one year you can bring your fish home in a plastic bag, and the next year you are bringing that bag home in a fish, we have to work hard and work fast,” said Karmenu Vella, the European commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries.

The EU’s executive branch, the European Commission, estimates that almost 60 percent of the 25.8 million metric tons (28.4 million tons) of plastic waste produced in the bloc each year comes from packaging, with much of it exported to third countries rather than recycled.

German environmental group NABU claims that about 350,000 metric tons of plastic waste could be prevented in Germany alone with the ban.

Once the ban is formally approved, countries will have two years to restrict the use of single-use plastic products, which will also include drink stirrers, balloon sticks, and polystyrene food and beverage containers, though plastic cups are exempt for now.

plastic cups, EU
Eliminate single-use plastic items, officials told, Pixabay

PET bottles sold in the EU will have to contain at least 25 percent recycled plastic from 2025, rising to 30 percent by 2030.

The EU also wants to work with manufacturers to inform consumers of the presence of plastic in wet wipes and cigarette filters.

Also Read: Microplastics Found In 100 Percent Of Humans Studied: Research

The move comes a day after the EU executive, member states and the European Parliament agreed to lower emissions limits for new vehicles from 2030. According to the plan, automakers’ fleet-wide emissions of carbon dioxide — the main greenhouse gas — will need to be cut by 37.5 percent compared to 2021. (VOA)

Next Story

World Population Expected to Reach 9.7 Billion in 2050, United Nations Reports

The new population projections indicate that nine countries will be responsible for more than half the projected population growth

0
FILE - Faces in the crowd at the peace assembly in Kathmandu, May 7, 2010. VOA

The world’s population is getting older and growing at a slower pace but is still expected to increase from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion in 2050, the United Nations said Monday.

The U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ Population Division said in a new report that world population could reach its peak of nearly 11 billion around the end of the century.

But Population Division Director John Wilmoth cautioned that because 2100 is many decades away this outcome “is not certain, and in the end the peak could come earlier or later, at a lower or higher level of total population.”

The new projections indicate that nine countries will be responsible for more than half the projected growth between now and 2050. In descending order of the expected increase, they are: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the United States.

UN, World, Population
The world’s population is getting older and growing at a slower pace but is still expected to increase from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion in 2050. VOA

In sub-Saharan Africa, it is projected to nearly double by 2050, the report said.

Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Lu Zhenmin said in a statement: “Many of the fastest growing populations are in the poorest countries, where population growth brings additional challenges in the effort to eradicate poverty,” promote gender equality and improve health care and education.

The report confirmed that the world’s population is growing older due to increasing life expectancy and falling fertility levels.

The global fertility rate fell from 3.2 births per woman in 1990 to 2.5 births in 2019 and is projected to decline further to 2.2 births by 2050.

Also Read- Important Ingredients to Look for in Your Beauty Products

A fertility rate of 2.1 births per woman is need to ensure population replacement and avoid declines, according to the report.

In 2019, the fertility rate in sub-Saharan Africa was the highest at 4.6 births per woman, with Pacific islands, northern Africa, and western, central and southern Asia above the replacement level, the report said.

But since 2010, it said 27 countries or areas have lost one percent or more of their population.

“Between 2019 and 2050 populations are projected to decrease by one percent or more in 55 countries or areas, of which 26 may see a reduction of at least 10 percent,” the U.N. said. “In China, for example, the population is projected to decrease by 31.4 million, or around 2.2 percent, between 2019 and 2050.”

UN, World, Population
World population could reach its peak of nearly 11 billion around the end of the century. Pixabay

Wilmoth, the head of the Population Division, told a news conference launching the report that the population growth rate is slowing down as the fertility level gradually decreases. That decrease usually follows a reduction in the mortality level that initially instigated growth, he said.

Wilmoth stressed that multiple factors lead to lower fertility including increasing education and employment, especially for women, and more jobs in urban than rural areas, which motivate people away from costly large families to  smaller families.

But to achieve this, he said, people also need access to modern methods of contraception.

According to the “World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights” report, migration is also a major component of population growth or loss in some countries.

Also Read- Here’s How You Can go Environment-friendly During Menstruation

Between 2010 and 2020, it said 14 countries or areas will see a net inflow of more than one million migrants while 10 countries will experience a similar loss.

For example, some of the largest outflows of people — including from Bangladesh, Mepal and the Philippines — are driven by the demand for migrant workers, the report said. But some migrants are driven from their home countries by violence, insecurity and conflict, including from Myanmar, Syria and Venezuela.

The U.N. said countries experiencing a net inflow of migrants over the decade include Belarus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine. (VOA)