Target: Miguel Arias Cañete, European Union Energy, Climate, and Environment Minister
Goal: Praise plan to cut plastic bag use in half by 2019
European Union countries will be drastically reducing their use of plastic bags in upcoming years. An unanimous decision made by member countries aims to slash plastic bag consumption by 80 percent in the next decade. European Union countries will have the choice of either introducing a charge for plastic bags at shopping centers and supermarkets, or implementing their own plans to reduce plastic bag usage from an annual average of 197 per person to 40 per person by 2025. Both choices aim to cut plastic bag use in half by 2019.
The new law is in response to an alarming excess of light plastics in the world’s landfills and oceans. Somewhere between 500 billion and one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year, very few of which are recycled. Most plastics are not biodegradable, and can stay intact for thousands of years before finally decomposing into smaller, but equally toxic particles that pollute soil and waterways.
Not only are plastic bags leading to particulate pollution, they also pose a more direct threat to the world’s wildlife. Small animals can become entangled and suffocated in these bags, while birds and water mammals sometimes choke on them after mistaking them for food. An estimated one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed by plastic litter each year.
With reusable fabric alternatives so readily available, it is absurd to continue polluting the environment with unnecessary shopping bags. Cutting plastic use in the European Union will have a huge impact on not only Europe’s environment, but also the world’s. Sign the petition below to thank the European Union for its efforts to reduce its environmental footprint on the world.
Dear Mr. Cañete,
The European Union recently voted to slash plastic bag usage by 80 percent in the next decade. Member countries will have the choice of banning free plastic bags or choosing their own ways to reduce usage, as long as the number of plastic bags per citizen drops by half by 2019.
Plastic bags contain toxic pollutants that make their way into soil and water systems, and can pose a threat to birds, marine mammals, and small land animals. Over a million animals die annually from strangulation or ingestion of soft plastics.
The European Union’s plastic bag plan will not only impact the European environment, but will also benefit the world’s oceans. We, the undersigned, thank you for your efforts to preserve the health of the natural environment.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Yamamoto Biology via Creative Commons