EU Politics & Legislation Waste Management

The Plastic Circus Was in Town

Apparently an international event took place in Malta last week with Politicians, Industry, Media, NGO's, Science and Academia. The cocktails were delicious, the sea was delightful and the beach was great.

Plastics producers gathered at an event in Malta last week on 26 and 27 April. The initiative was organised by Polytalk and is called “Together we must save our oceans from litter”. The purpose was to continue establishing and building new partnerships with stakeholders to improve circularity, waste management and prevent marine litter.

Daniele Ferrari, President of PlasticsEurope and CEO of Versalis (Eni)

“We all share the same objective: to protect our oceans and the marine environment”, said . With PolyTalk2018, we want not only to raise awareness, but to share concrete strategies and build new partnerships for preventing marine litter around the world. We want to strengthen our industry efforts and cooperation in key areas, to identify knowledge gaps, and discuss how to improve waste management infrastructures”.

Richard Thompson, Professor of Marine Biology, Plymouth University

“In my view, a key priority is to ensure plastic products are designed with greater consideration of their end of life opportunities – where possible products should be designed to maximize their potential for end of life recyclability”.

During the conference key aspects such as how waste management infrastructures and regulations could contribute in reducing litter were raised.

Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

“The European Commission’s new plastics strategy presents a vision for a smart, innovative and sustainable plastics industry. Good use of our resources makes environmental, social and economic sense. Working together, we have an opportunity to develop new and better ways of managing our industrial activities”.

Jim Steward, Chairman of the World Plastic Council and Vice-President of LyondellBasell.

“Leading plastics producers in Europe and around the world are working together to find solutions to protect the environment. To date, 74 plastic associations in 40 countries have signed the plastics industry’s global declaration, through which 355 projects have been planned, initiated or completed since its launch”.

Closing Remarks

It was a cosy get-together between high level politicians and industry representatives with no real decisions and measures taken. The event was influenced by the Plastic producers which is not really objective. Malta was the ideal location in terms of weather so that some attendees could stay over for the weekend and enjoy the beach and the weather. Politically, Malta was the wrong location: the country has one of the worse scores in terms of environmental policies and waste treatment; and the government has been linked to criminal organisations and obstructing justice when it comes to Daphne Caruana Galizia. Ironically, it was the Maltese Minister of Environment who explained how problems should be solved. The absence of vision and leadership from the EU Commission is impressive; but that they attend such event “abroad” instead than in Brussels gives a wrong signal.

So basically, the circus was in town, the master clown and the circus monkeys did a great job….but we’re not one inch further.