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Worldwide problem

André LeslieJanuary 15, 2014

Plastic bags should be banned by 2020, according to a new resolution from the European Parliament. Why is plastic waste such a problem? And what ideas are on the table? DW takes a closer look.

Mexican youths collect plastic in bags.
Image: imago stock&people

The European parliament has sent its strongest signal yet that it wants to get serious about drastically reducing plastic waste across the bloc.

Lawmakers gathered in Brussels yesterday (14.01.2014) voted in a resolution to take further action on a European Commission green paper. Under consideration is a ban on certain plastic bags in the EU by 2020.

In the resolution, MEPs said that plastic waste was damaging the environment. They criticized weak enforcement of EU waste reduction legislation and called for targeted policy aimed at better protecting the environment.

A sculpture made from plastic rubbish stands out the European Commission's headquarters in Brussels.
A plastic protest outside the offices of the European Commission in BrusselsImage: DW/I. Quaile-Kersken

Vittorio Prodi, who presented the European strategy on plastic waste to Parliament, said that a change in European policy "will help to clean up our (European) seas and land, while creating more job opportunities."

Although the vote means that Europe is moving in the right direction, the problem of plastic waste, especially in seas and oceans, remains a problem in Europe and around the world.

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