Sand covered garbage in Bali

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The European Commission has proposed new rules to ban certain plastic products in order to reduce the waste filling our oceans, it announced Monday.

The EU’s measures tackle the top 10 plastic products that wash up on Europe’s beaches and fill its seas, including a ban on the private use of single-use plastics like plastic straws, plates and utensils and containers used for fast food or your daily takeaway coffee.

The measures would also have each country in the EU come up with a system that would collect 90 percent of plastic bottles by 2025.

“The proposed ban in the European Union of single use plastics, notably plastic straws and cotton buds, is welcome and very promising news,” said Dr. Paul Harvey from Macquarie University in a press release. “Single use plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental catastrophes of this generation.”

You can see why the EU is making the proposal. Single-use plastic objects and fishing gear account for 70 percent of waste in the ocean, according to the EU. In 2017, researchers found 38 million pieces of plastic waste on an uninhabited South Pacific island. Figures from the same year showed that a million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute, a number predicted to jump 20 percent by 2021.

Fortunately, others are tackling the plastic problem, including scientists and environmentalists who’ve come up with one solution involving mushrooms that can eat plastic.

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