“On World Environment Day, the message is simple: reject single-use plastic. Refuse what you can’t re-use. Together, we can chart a path to a cleaner, greener world.” — UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

If you’re a social media user, you’ve certainly come upon the story about the pilot whale who died in Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags, which was dominating the news in the last two days.

Around the planet, around eight million tons of plastic waste end up in the oceans every year.

In 2017, people worldwide were purchasing a million plastic bottles per minute, 91% of which are not recycled and are polluting natural systems, threatening fish, birds and marine animals and eventually entering the food chain with still no clear effects on our health.

Such statistics just show the top of the iceberg of the waste issue.

This was also reflected in the brilliant and haunting cover image on the June issue of National Geographic which has gone viral on social media and is aiming to raise awareness about the global plastic waste crisis.

Another worldwide initiative to beat plastic pollution is the UN World Environment Day which is taking place today for the 44thtime.

World Environment Day is the UN’s most important date for encouraging global awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a worldwide platform for public outreach which is celebrated in over 100 countries. The theme for 2018, “Beat Plastic Pollution,” is a call to action for each one of us to fight one of the greatest challenges of our time.

Agroweb has already dedicated an article on the topic, offering tips how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the burden of plastic pollution on our environment, our wildlife and our own health (LINK HERE).

Today, we want to take a look at what initiatives are already taking place in Albania to tackle the problem of plastic pollution, obvious in so many places in the country.

Albania prohibits the production, import and marketing of plastic bags

This is undoubtedly great news: From July this year, every Albanian business that produces, imports or sells plastic bags will be punished.

The decision of the Council of Ministers was presented by the Minister of Tourism and Environment Blendi Klosi during the meeting with interest groups, manufacturers and importers of plastic bags.

Two months after the adoption of this decision every business that trades with lightweight polyethylene plastic bags (below 35 microns) will be fined between 1 million and 1.5 million Lek.

These measures are primarily addressing large importers, but the law does not exclude even smaller traders such as supermarkets and shops.

Minister Klosi emphasized that taking this drastic measure was dictated by the disastrous situation in the Albanian environment as a result of the use of plastic bags, which not only affects the natural habitat and our health, but also endangers Albania’s growing tourism industry.

He also warned that after banning the import of plastic bags below 35 microtons, further decisions regarding end-of-life cars and scrap metal collection sites as part of 15 environmental initiatives are also to be expected.

Beach clean-up in Durres

On the 30thof June a beach clean-up event is going to be organized in Durres. The initiative is organized by internationals living in Albania and is starting at Durres Hostel at 9 am, with transport opportunity from Tirana as well.

Of course, this is not much and just the beginning. Now it’s up to every one of us, civil society, community groups, schools, universities and single businesses to continue the fight and inspire others to act as well.

Because every single action – no matter how smalls – counts and World Environment Day is People’s Day after all./AgroWeb.news