On the 22nd January, MEP Zofija Mazej Kukovič (EPP/SDS), speaking as a representative of the European People?s Party in the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee of the European Parliament, pointed out several aspects of the impact of plastic bags on the health of individuals and entrepreneurship.
?The problem of plastic bags is multi-layered. Consumption of plastic bags itself, it for me, first and foremost, a thing of habit, culture and awareness. It is interesting to note that in China you never see a plastic bag on the street, as they are reused, while in Tunis, you can get lost in them. The plastic bag was once a hit. At this moment, we do not have any estimates how many companies continue to depend on them for their survival.?
Mazej Kukovič continued by saying: ?Nature is filled with plastic waste, which has many negative consequences, amongst them, a detrimental impact on the health of people. In addition to the high level of environmental pollution and the trace presence of plastic bags on our food, it is important to note the change in how we carry things. Instead of carrying things on our back, we do so in our hands. The uneven balance causes stress for our spine, so we also need to take into consideration these types of adverse health effects.?
The European Union uses an excessive number of plastic bags. Every year almost 100 billion plastic bags are used and unless we take action, this number will increase to 111 billion by 2020. This means that on average, each European uses 200 plastic bags per year. In the five minutes it will take you to read this text, a million plastic bags will have been used. The proposed changes to the Directive in question foresee at least an 80% reduction of consumption of light plastic bags on the territory of Member States in comparison with the average use in the EU in 2010.
Mazej Kukovič ended by saying: ?We need to start thinking of possible solutions to the problem. An 80% reduction of plastic bag use could result in a loss of jobs, which we wish to avoid. In Slovenia, for example, the introduction of rules making it mandatory to pay for plastic bags has greatly reduced their consumption. This trend can also be used for the creation of new business opportunities. Thus a new opportunity arises in the midst of the biggest economic crisis we have seen. Multiple use bags can be cool, especially for the young. Making new designs can offer jobs to both designers and producers. Furthermore, we could increase the number of self-carry packaging.?