Plastic Europe, an association of plastic producers from European countries, met in Malta during the PolyTalk conference to discuss with experts and politicians the way forward so that the seas will no longer be used as a landfill to thousands of tons of plastic. The Maltese Ambassador for the Oceans, Professor Alan Deidun, said that Malta has more to do to reduce plastic which ends in the sea.
In one year, between five and thirteen tons of plastic end up in international seas.
Ambassador Deidun noted that European statistics show that only a third of the plastic used in Malta is being recycled adding that Malta should do more to improve this rate which is lower than the EU average.
Prof. Deidun appealed for incentives to commercial establishments in order to eliminate the use of plastic containers.
“As an alternative we should give incentives to establishments who invest in long-life plastic; which may be washed and is re-used so that we avoid, as much as possible, the single use plastic which is only used once and is very wasteful”.
Professor Deidun said that plastic at sea is crushed and eaten by fish, and this ultimately ends up on our plate. “Each time one visits bays, in every part of the world including Malta, one finds these micro plastics – these are nurdles made of many plastics – if you go at beaches and use sieve you will find a lot of them”.
Plastics Europe chief executive, Daniele Ferrari, stated that the organisation contributes with educational programmes and in recent months it organised some 30 such programmes among 28 European countries.
Environment Minister, Jose’ Herrera, said that Malta is pledging, among others, to extend the protection of maritime zones and to implement better management plans of these zones. He stated that Malta is committed to recover by next year up to 70% of plastic generated in the country by introducing refund schemes on the return of plastic bottles.