Marine protection and fishing

Plastic Pollution: a new Law to Reduce Microplastic in the Environment

Today, April 23rd, the Plenary of the European Parliament voted in favour of a new law to reduce plastic pellet pollution in the environment. Ska Keller is shadow rapporteur for the Greens/EFA Group on that file in the ENVI Committee.

Ska Keller MEP, Substitute Member of the Environment Committee and Greens/EFA Shadow Rapporteur for the file on plastic pellets, comments:

“It is crucial that we finally take ambitious measures in view of the massive pollution caused by plastic and microplastics in our environment. I am therefore delighted that we were able to significantly strengthen the Commission's proposal in the negotiations and that the report on the prevention of plastic pellet losses was adopted by a large majority, first in the Environment Committee and now in the Plenary.

To ensure that the entire plastic supply chain is held accountable, we Greens/EFA have advocated for far-reaching certification of companies' responsible handling of pellets, including loss prevention, containment, and clean-up. The recent spill in Galicia illustrated that detailed reporting about losses and cross-country alert systems are lacking. To counter this we were able to introduce mandatory loss tracking and reporting as well as provisions on informing territories affected and likely to be affected from losses immediately.

With mandatory labelling of containers carrying plastic pellets and enhanced measures for marine transport, we're taking concrete action to prevent future ecological disasters and safeguarding our ecosystems and marine life from further harm.

It is great to see that most political groups see the need to act on the urgency and necessity of ambitious legislation on preventing plastic pellet losses and voted in favour to adopt the proposal. As plastic pellets are a large but not the only source of microplastics pollution, we call on the Commission to bring forward additional legislation to tackle pollution from tyre abrasion, paints, and textiles.”

 

Background:

In its Zero Pollution Action Plan the European Union has committed to reducing plastic in the environment by 30% by 2030. The overarching goal should be preventing macroplastics - larger pieces of plastic that break down into microplastics - from entering the environment in the first place.

In October 2023 the European Commission presented a proposal for a Regulation on preventing plastic pellet losses to reduce microplastic pollution. For the first time, the EU will have rules on how to handle plastic pellets along the value chain. On March 19th, the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment had voted in favour of the Committee’s Report on Preventing Plastic Pellet Losses to Reduce Microplastic Pollution with a large majority. The final Plenary vote now determined the Parliament’s position for negotiations with Council and Commission in the new mandate after the European Elelctions.

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