|Dirty Earth / Art: Keiko T.Olds|
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Landmark EU ruling to cut plastic bag use by 80%: Countries set deadline of 2025 to meet target through charges or bans
All EU countries will have to cut the use of throwaway ‘plastic poison’ carrier bags by 80 per cent following a vote yesterday.
The decision represents a victory for Daily Mail readers and the ‘Banish the Bags’ campaign, which launched in February 2008 with the backing of groups from the National Trust to the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
Member states have set the 28 countries of the EU a deadline of 2025 to meet the target which can be achieved through the introduction of bans or charges.
The UK is already on course to meet this target following decisions by the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which have already have a system of charges.
England is set to follow suit with a 5p levy on the plastic bags in October after supermarkets failed to meet pledges to reduce bag numbers through voluntary schemes.
All profits from the charges in England will go to good causes, which will include a raft of green clean-up groups, tackling green spaces, rivers and beaches, as well as other charities.
Similar charging schemes in Ireland have led to a reduction of around 90per cent in the distribution of the flimsy bags, which have become a blight on streets and parks.
Volunteers at the Marine Conservation Society have been working tirelessly to clean beaches and protect sea life such as turtles, which are known to eat the bags because they mistake them for jellyfish.
Their work has been supported by money raised through a 5p charge on bags by Marks & Spencer, which led the way among retailers in tackling the blight they cause.
Pollution and litter expert at the MCS, Dr Sue Kinsey, welcomed the EU vote, as a ‘useful first step’ in the reduction in single use plastic bags.
However, she said an original plan for mandatory charges throughout the EU had been watered down with a decision to leave it up to each member state on how to achieve the promised 80per cent reduction.
Bizarrely, the UK government was among those that opposed the idea of a mandatory charge across all EU states.
The MCS is also concerned that the bag charge scheme for England will not be as effective as those in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This is because it carries various exemptions, including a decision not to apply the 5p fee in small shops.
An estimated 100 billion carrier bags are used every year in Europe - with 8 billion ending up as litter. Many of those end up in seas and rivers, killing millions of marine animals.
Wales was the first home nation to introduce a 5p charge four years ago. Since then it is estimated that the number of bags issued at the tills is down by more than 75per cent.
There, families have found no significant problems in switching to re-usable bags and baskets for their shopping.
Some other EU nations already have controls in place. Italy has a ban and Spain will introduce one in 2018, while there are levies in the Czech Republic and Malta.
A number of countries have taxes on shops which give out free bags, including Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Hungary, Latvia, Netherlands, Romania, and Slovenia.
The Danish Green MEP Margrete Auken, who pushed the legislation through the European parliament, called the approval ‘a historic breakthrough in tackling the pervasive problem of plastic waste’.
The organisms that live on the surface of this planet, they break down waste and keep the ecosystem in check. That is because this earth itself is an organism and they are needed. In order for this earth to maintain it's healthy environment, we must act like the good bacteria that live in symbiosis in a animal's body. The other mammals, insects and plants live without question of why they are living. Just like blood, muscles and cells works like the clouds, wind, tech tonic plates, magma, of this planet. Because of this, the earth was able to live for a long time. So therefore, we cannot create a filthy environment for the oceans, rivers, the air and the land.
The world's organisms were SUPPOSE to live in symbiosis to each other. Before humans have gained wisdom, they have lived together with the organisms with the earth.
More then 1.6 million years ago, the early humans have left their forest habitat and headed more to the prairies to explore and find food. Their body temperature had risen, and as a result, only left their head hair to protect from overheating their brain. They lost their claws, canine teeth and their ability to run fast. They abandoned those abilities to improve their brains. Their wisdom had come from their communication to their other species, and therefore created a weapon for survival. They also build their wisdom by being able to craft weapons and kill animals for food. Instead of gathering food, they created farms. They had learned to have wars with long spears and drums. Soon, they grew the wisdom to abandon trade and preferred money. Other things we have grown wisdom on are building fires, making machines, creating large cities, factories, transportation, war, etc,. Human wisdom is now used to obtain what we want and destroying others as we use that wisdom. Other animals try to be fair with their own lives, but live in symbiosis with the earth and help it survive. But humans have created too many odd things. But, since we create things from this earth, it is not an odd thing. Though humans take those odd things and destroy the environment by how we use them. The reason why oils, gases and gasolines are buried so deep in the ground is maybe because the earth may require those resources. We do not have enough wisdom to see the future.
In ancient times, the oil can rise up to the surface of the earth. They used it for medicine and "burning water", but the people during those times were not used to burn a tremendous amount. Some have dug far down to retrieve some of that oil, but they did not use it to the point of emptiness. The oil that we use to create plastic, it is now in our rivers, sewers and oceans as waste and garbage. There are many animals that do not know the dangers of plastic and eat them as food. Even if it destroys the environment, we dig for oil, create plastic, cut down trees, create chemicals, all for profit. There will be a time where this earth will die, and along with all the organisms that live on it. We are part of this earth, and we cannot become a cancer cell. Sadly, the cancer that we have created is still spreading upon this earth. Perhaps we can restore this "disease" that we have created. If we can do something that is right and help cure this earth, please sign these petitions below.
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Discovery Channel - Global Warming, What You Need To Know, with Tom Brokaw 1:30
PBS NOVA Earth from Space. 2:00
Oil and Ice: The Risks of Drilling in Alaska's Arctic Ocean
Arctic Oil Spill Response in Under 10 Seconds
The Scariest, Most Shocking Climate Change Video of 2012: Skywatcher
The Last Surviving Otter from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Has Died
PROTECT YOUR BEACHES FROM OIL SPILLS AND DRILLING RIGS!