A EU plan to ban single-use plastic products was agreed upon in Brussels early on Wednesday December 19th in a bid to stop the stream of plastic pollution making its way into the oceans, as reported by AFP.
After 12 and a half hours of wrangling, a provisional agreement was reached by officials from the parliament and the EU Council, but still needs to be officially approved by EU states and the EU parliament before becoming law, and is expected to come into effect in two years time.
"Where possible, the measures laid down in this directive and their implementation should give priority to waste prevention or to the transition to reusable products rather than to other single-use alternatives," the council said in a statement.
Such single-use plastic products include disposable things like straws, plates, cups and cotton buds. Plastic waste has a slow decomposition rate, which means that traces are often found in marine species such as sea turtles, whales and birds, as well as in the seafood that ends up in the human body.
The European Commission had earlier argued that single-use plastics account for some 70% of the marine litter, and research in October appeared to show for the first time the widespread presence of plastics in the human food chain.