Greece Launches a Campaign against Plastic Pollution - No Single-Use Plastics by June 2020
Greece has announced a campaign against plastic pollution and promised to end the use of single-use plastics by June 2020, AFP reported.
"39 tonnes of plastic waste end up in the sea in Greece (every day) and a lot of it turns into fish food," Environment Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said at a press conference.
"The fight against plastic pollution is a government priority."
Greece has a coastline stretching over 130,000 kilometres, and plastics in the oceans affect its wild marine life along the entire food chain.
The minister said that the European Commission directive to ban single-use plastics by July 2021 will be quickly incorporated into Greek law. Hatzidakis said he hopes to phase out the use of single-use plastics by 2020, a year before the EU ban enters into force.
Hatzidakis called for an alliance between the state, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and citizens.
He also announced a plan for collaboration with the charitable foundation A.C. Laskaridis, a private environmental group. Last year, the foundation worked with the Greek island of Sikinos in the Aegean to ban plastic straws that are widely used in the summer.
According to the group, Greece imports about 700,000 tonnes of raw plastics each year and discards 40,000 tonnes of plastics, 70% of which are ashore. In the summer, the percentage reaches 76, of which only 8% are recycled.
Greece is lagging behind its EU neighbours in recycling waste, especially plastics. The country was late to adopt a plastic bag fee in stores in January 2018.