Fishermen have a role in reducing marine litter – MEPs

Members of the European Parliament said that fishermen could play an important role in collecting plastic waste from the sea while fishing. The plastic would then be brought back to the port. The MEPs said that the EU Commission and the Member States should incentivize such activity. The MEPs adopted a non-binding draft resolution on Thursday with 597 votes to 15 and 25 abstentions on Thursday. The non-binding draft resolution proposes ways to boost plastic recycling in the European Union with creating single market for recycled plastics and measures to tackle marine litter.

Other proposals include new EU-wide standards and definitions for biodegradability and composability, a complete EU ban on oxo-degradable plastic and a ban on micro-plastics in cosmetics and cleaning products by 2020.

The MEPs called on the European Commission to propose quality standards for secondary plastics. They argued that the Commission would need to take into account various grades of recycling which are compatible with different uses while at the same time ensuring safety. The MEPs said as well that Member States should also consider reducing VAT on products which contain recycled materials.

87% of EU citizens are reportedly to be concerned by the environmental impact of plastics according to the EU Commission. Global annual production of plastics which stood at 322 million tonnes in 2015 is expected to double over the next 20 years.