Belgian plastics association Federplast.be, environmental NGOs and the Belgian-Dutch association of coastal communities have signed a resolution to stop the dumping of plastics waste in the North Sea and other rivers and seas.
According to the resolution, the North Sea receives 20,000 tons of plastic waste each year, costing Belgium and the Netherlands €10m. The large pieces of plastic are dangerous for sea mammals and turtles, smaller pieces pose a threat to seabirds and some materials degrade into micro plastics, which are eaten by fish, plankton and crustaceans.
The resolution points out that banning plastics is not the solution and instead calls for more responsible use.
“Take plastics out of a pacemaker, a prosthesis, an intravenous drop or other medical applications and we are years going back in time,” it says. “Plastics also have their merits and are as such not a problem.”
The resolution is also calling for the authorities to work towards stopping further pollution and cleaning up waste at sea.
“That everybody carries responsibility is clear: 50% of the waste comes from ships, 50% of the waste is coming from onshore,” says the document.
New sources of pollution should also be prevented, it adds.
The organisations that signed the resolution have asked for the following actions:
Legislation regarding the reuse and recycling of plastic waste
A ban on non-degradable micro plastics in consumer products
Public campaigns to create awareness of the issue of plastic pollution
Public and private initiatives to combat pollution on land and at sea
A general ban on the disposal of waste at sea
Scientific research and monitoring to map the ecological, economic and social impact of plastic pollution.
The resolution was signed on behalf of Federplast.be by president Stephane Dalimier (pictured).