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International Plastic Bag Free Day 2018 : 'How long can we last this way?'


For the International Plastic Bag Free Day, activists from Zelena akcija/Friends of the Earth Croatia planned an action/performance in front of Importanne shopping center in Zagreb, which aimed to raise awareness on the environmental problems caused by production and overconsumption of single-use plastic bags and single-use plastic in general.

The action aimed to show sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic and invite citizens to take part in the activities planned for “Plastic-Free Week”.

“Plastic-Free Week” is an educational campaign led by Friends of the Earth Croatia, with the aim to raise awareness on the environmental impact and hazards of single-use plastic bags, influence the citizens’ engagement as well as the decision makers, in order to improve the legislation which would reduce the consumption of harmful single-use plastic and promote more sustainable solutions.

“Each year we are taking action for the International Plastic Free Day where we invite citizens to replace their single-use plastic bags with canvas and compostable ones. This year we have decided to educate the public not only about the problem of single-use plastic bags, but on the hazards of single-use plastic in general”, said Marko Košak from FoE Croatia.

Single-use plastic bottles, plates and cutlery, straws, packaging and q tips, alongside single-use plastic bags are the biggest environmental pollutants made out of oil. After very short usage, pieces of plastic stay in the environment for hundreds of years, polluting oceans, seas, soil and drinkable water, killing numerous marine species and land animals.

“During the performance, we put single-use plastic bags on our heads and spread a banner saying “How long can we last this way?”, after which we symbolically took them off and replaced them with canvas bags spreading the message of already existing, more sustainable alternatives”, Košak added.

The European Parliament has recognized the negative impact of overproduction and overconsumption of single-use plastic and adopted the Strategy to cut plastic waste and proposed a Single-use plastic directive. According to the Directive, it will be mandatory to reduce consumption of single-use plastic bags by 10 times until the year 2025, as well as to cut other single-use plastic products, all of which requires urgent action on all the levels of the decision making.

Friends of the Earth Croatia is inviting the public to stop using single-use plastic materials and urging the Croatian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy to urgently implement the legal measures which would alongside the consumers, influence businesses, merchants and communal institutions. A few good examples are increasing taxes on single-use plastic production, reducing taxes on production of sustainable alternatives and implementing urgent measures for better quality of plastic waste management in order to achieve more efficient collecting and recycling.

“Postponing the implementation of measures, which is the usual practice of the Croatian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy, won’t bring any improvement, so we are demanding immediate action”, concluded Košak.

As part of the global “Break Free From Plastic” movement, Friends of the Earth Croatia invited the public to engage in an online action #mogubez (I can do without), “breakfreefromplastic aiming to promote sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic, like compostable and canvas bags, glass and aluminium bottles, cotton q tips and bamboo straws and toothbrushes. Sustainable alternatives will be presented on Thursday in Art Park during a panel discussion and movie screening where FoE Croatia is inviting citizens to take part in.

Photos from the action can be found HERE.

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