BRUSSELS — Belgian plastics association Federplast.be, environmental groups 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 10 million euros. 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."
"That everybody carries responsibility is clear: 50 percent of the waste comes from ships, 50 percent of the waste is coming from onshore," says the document.
New sources of pollution should also be prevented, it adds.
The organizations 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.