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Parliamentary questions
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6 December 2018
Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-005222/2018

1. The Commission considers that the special circumstances of small islands with regard to beach litter, and plastic marine pollution more generally, should be taken into account when implementing EC law through national policies. This includes rules on marine environment protection, waste management and port facilities for receiving waste from ships, including fishing vessels.

At the same time, the Commission supports financially targeted initiatives, such as the BLUEISLANDS project(1) aiming to mitigate the impact of marine litter on islands. In addition, the Commission supports research and innovation in the field of plastics to develop solutions that also work at small scale, for example through innovative reuse models, product design or recycling technologies.

2. The Commission believes that thorough implementation of existing EC law and of the future Directive on single use plastic products and fishing gear(2) will address the Honourable Member’s concerns for island regions. The implementation may include various initiatives from different parties, subject to the specific needs of the locality. For example, some Member States have included such measures in their marine strategies under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive(3).

In addition, the revised Waste Framework Directive(4) requires national authorities to take measures to prevent and reduce marine litter and to foresee such measures, as well as clean-up actions, in their national and local waste management plans. The local and regional authorities from the islands can also use the available technical support, such as the Peer-to-Peer tool(5), to seek best practices from other parts of the EU.

(2)Commission Proposal for a directive on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment COM(2018) 340 final — currently discussed by the co-legislators.
(3)COM(2018)562 final: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52018DC0562&from=EN
(4)Directive 2008/98/EC (OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, p. 3‐30) as revised by Directive (EU) 2018/851 (OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 109‐140).

Last updated: 6 December 2018Legal notice