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Cyprus Not Ready for EU Directive Limiting Single-Use Plastics

Αssociated Press

In this Oct. 22, 2019, photo, plastic sits in the decomposed carcass of a seabird on Midway Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Midway is littered with countless bird skeletons that have brightly colored plastic protruding from their now decomposing intestines. Bottle caps, toothbrushes and cigarette lighters sit in the centers of their feathery carcasses. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

NICOSIA -- Cyprus is lagging in preparing to implement a European Union directive restricting single-use plastics and likely won't be able to meet a July deadline because a bill hasn't been sent to Parliament.

Greens party leader Charalambous Theopemptou told The Cyprus Mail that the delay in legislation means that, “We will be late in implementing this environmental legislation,” speaking at an environmental event in Larnaca.

Leaflets were distributed along Phinikoudes about the wildlife of Cyprus while biodegradable gloves were handed out, made by students from Aradippou High School, designed to decompose without leaving any residue.

Theopemptou said, “This legislation is important because disposable plastics are what we find mainly thrown in nature. The EU has started a war on plastics over the next decade and this is the first step.”

Single-use plastic products (SUPs) are used once, or for a short period of time, before being thrown away and are an ecological plague, found in trees, waters and collecting along roadways and in ditches.

They are more likely to end up in seas than reusable options, the EU said. The 10 most commonly found single-use plastic items on European beaches, alongside fishing gear, represent 70 percent of all litter in the EU, the paper said.

The 10 items being addressed by the Directive are:

  • Cotton bud sticks
  • Cutlery, plates, straws and stirrers
  • Balloons and sticks for balloons
  • Food containers
  • Cups for beverages
  • Beverage containers
  • Cigarette butts
  • Plastic bags
  • Packets and wrappers

Wet wipes and sanitary items

Where sustainable alternatives are easily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from July 3, 2021.

“This ban will apply to cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, and sticks for balloons. It will also apply to cups, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, and on all products made of oxo-degradable plastic,” the EU directive also states.