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Single-Use Plastic Banned By The European Parliament

The EU plastics bill also includes deadlines for reducing or recycling other plastics such as bottles, fishing lines, food wrappers, and cigarette filters.

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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

The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to ban single-use plastic products such as straws, eating utensils and coffee sticks across the European Union.

The measure passed 571 to 53, with 34 abstentions.

If approved by the European Commission — the EU executive — and individual states, the ban would become law in 2021.

plastic waste
Plastic items washed up by the sea are seen at the Ao Phrao Beach, on the island of Ko Samet, Thailand, June 9, 2018. (VOA)

Supporters say plastics are a major source of pollution that chokes oceans, litters cities, and can take decades to disintegrate.

Some U.S. cities have moved to ban plastic straws in restaurants after a heartbreaking video of a wildlife rescuer pulling a straw out of a turtle’s bloody nose was posted on the internet earlier this year.

plastic, vietnam
A plastic bottle washed up by the sea . (VOA)

A consortium of European plastics manufacturers called the EU bill “disproportionate” and said banning single-use plastics discourages investment into new ways to recycle.

Also Read: New Carbon Capture Technology Now Able To Flight Climate Change: Experts

The EU plastics bill also includes deadlines for reducing or recycling other plastics such as bottles, fishing lines, food wrappers, and cigarette filters. (VOA)

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Cambodia Returns 1,600 Tons of Plastic Waste Exported from US, Canada

Neth Pheaktra said 70 of the containers were shipped from the U.S. and 13 came from Canada. Both countries are major waste exporters

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plastic waste
Containers loaded with plastic waste are pictured in Sihanoukville Port, southwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. July 16, 2019. VOA

Cambodian authorities have announced plans to return 1,600 tons of plastic waste exported from the U.S. and Canada, according to a high-ranking official from the Environmental Ministry.

Inspectors found the waste Tuesday. It was packed in 83 containers unloaded in Sihanoukville, one of Cambodia’s main ports.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra told VOA Khmer on Wednesday that “authorities are seeking the companies that smuggled the plastic waste in order to take legal action.”  He added that the waste would be returned “to the country of origin.”

Neth Pheaktra said 70 of the containers were shipped from the U.S. and 13 came from Canada. Both countries are major waste exporters.

plastic waste
80 percent of the waste found on 93 beaches was plastic. VOA

‘Not a dustbin’

“Cambodia is not a dustbin where foreign countries can dispose of out-of-date e-waste, and the government also opposes any import of plastic waste and lubricants to be recycled in this country,” said Neth Pheaktra.

In the past, Cambodian authorities have found radioactive and film waste arriving in Sihanoukville.  He said the plastic waste found this week was not biodegradable.

Emily Zeeberg, spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia, said the embassy “is monitoring reports of plastic waste at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port.”

Zeeberg added that “we have requested additional information and are offering U.S. government assistance to determine both the exporter (country of origin) and the importing entity here in Cambodia.”

Sorn Chey, who works with the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific, said the authorities should heed control mechanisms. “This is something that should not take place,” he added.

plastic waste
Scientists: China’s Ban Causes Plastic To Pile Up, Nations Must Reduce Usage. Pixabay

Chinese project

Cambodia’s rejection this week was the latest step in a trash crisis that emerged when China began Operation Green Fence in February 2013. It was aimed at reducing the vast amounts of contaminated recyclables and waste sent to China.

ALSO READ: Mahindra Group Chairman: No More Plastic Bottles at Boardroom Meeting

In January 2018, Beijing banned almost all imports of two dozen types of recyclable materials, such as plastics, mixed paper and electronic waste. Now, unless the materials are clean and sorted so they are unmixed, China rejects them.

Since then, other countries in Southeast Asia that accepted waste have started to turn it away. In May, Malaysia returned 450 tons of plastic waste to the U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and the Netherlands. Earlier this month, Indonesia rejected waste from Australia. (VOA)