BERLIN, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Germany supports the European Commission's plan to make the tobacco industry cover the costs of management and clean-up of cigarette waste, Environment Minister Svenja Schulze told the newspapers of the Funke media group on Tuesday.
"Those who produce disposable items, such as cigarettes, will have to take more responsibility for the garbage in the future," Schulze said. The tobacco industry could be involved, for example, by contributing to the costs of cleaning up beaches and parks.
In May, the European Commission first called for the tobacco industry to shoulder part of the clean-up costs of single-use plastic in cigarette filters.
"We will introduce a Europe-wide ban on unnecessary disposable plastic before the end of this year," Schulze said, adding "we have to resort to more drastic measures than before," in order to stop the pollution of the seas and the environment.
Anton Hofreiter, parliamentary group leader of the Green Party, has accused Schulze of playing a "double game" on the issue of plastics. Schulze would promise "a turnaround in the plastics trend in Berlin," while "watering down the necessary laws in Brussels," Hofreiter told the Funke newspapers.
The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers will discuss the new directive on single-use plastics in Brussels on Tuesday.
According to the Commission, the proposed directive would bring both "environmental and economic benefits." For example, it would help avoid the release of 3.4 million tons of carbon dioxide and prevent environmental damages worth 22 billion euros (25.1 billion U.S. dollars) by 2030.
With regard to microplastics in cosmetics, a fee on plastic bags, disposable packaging and coffee cups, Hofreiter complained that Germany was falling far behind other European countries, such as Austria, Sweden and Great Britain. Hofreiter called on the German government to follow up its "cheap words with tangible action".