Plastics must be reduced, Environment Commissioner tells conference

If we do not change the manner in which plastic materials are produced and used, in 2050 the oceans will contain more plastic than fish, Commissioner for the Environment Ioanna Panayiotou said on Friday, noting that we must prevent plastic materials entering the water, food, even our bodies, and the only long-term solution is to reduce plastic waste with the increase of recycling and reuse.

Addressing the conference titled Open Dialogue: Closing the Cycle of Plastic, organised by the Employers and Industrialists Federation, the Representation of the European Commission in Cyprus, and the Strovolos Municipality, in the framework of events to mark the European Commission’s Greek Week, Panayiotou said the European strategy for plastic materials is part of the transition to a more circular economy.

With this strategy, the environment will be protected from pollution with plastic materials and at the same time growth and innovation will be strengthened, so that this challenge is turned into a positive agenda for the future of Europe, she said.

She added that, according to the new plans, in 2030 there will only be recyclable plastic packaging in the EU market, the consumption of disposable plastic products will be reduced, and the deliberate use of microplastics will be restricted.

Every year, Europeans produce 25 million tonnes of plastic waste and less than 30% is sent for recycling, Panayiotou pointed out, adding that European legislation has already achieved a significant reduction in the use of plastic bags in several member states.

There were seven speakers at the conference, who referred to the waste management in Cyprus and Europe, with emphasis on plastic waste.

Speakers:

Ierotheos Papadopoulos, Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Cyprus � Plastic waste: A European strategy to protect the planet

Kostas Hadjipanayiotou, Director of the Environment Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment � The current situation in plastic waste management in Cyprus

Dr. Nikolaos Kalogerakis, Environmental Engineer School, Crete Polytechnic � Pollution from the improper management of plastic and microplastic

Giorgos Fyttis, Cyprus Oceanographic Centre, University of Cyprus � Programme to clean seas from fishing nets and litter

Anthi Charalambous, Head of the Energy and Environment Division at the Employers and Industrialists Federation � Plastic and the transition to the circular economy: Challenges and prospects

Avgoustinos Frangou, Head of Quality Control, Lordos Plastics � Changing culture and adapting to new requirements by plastic industries in Cyprus

Andreas Papacharalambous, Strovolos Mayor � The role of local authorities in reducing and recycling plastic waste

Source: Cyprus News Agency