VALLETTA, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The Maltese government launched a public consultation on Friday on a national strategy to reduce single-use plastics pollution.
The draft strategy includes 23 measures aimed at setting the country on the path toward a plastic-free environment by bringing about a cultural and behavioral shift.
Its objectives are to reduce the use of single-use plastics and to improve and promote plastic recycling in Malta.
The measures target plastic items specified by the European Union as being the most prevalent and destructive to marine ecosystems.
Under the proposed framework, balloons and plastic confetti will be banned from public events after 2020.
A number of other measures -- like an increase of the excise duty on plastic carrier bags, a ban on oxo-degradable plastics (a source of microplastic pollution) as of 2021, as well as restrictions on some types of fishing gear -- will come into force before 2020.
Supermarkets will also have packaging-free areas, and consumers and students will be incentivised to use their own drinks containers.
The strategy also includes a number of obligations on the industry, which will be required to carry out the cleaning and collection of waste from specific areas.
Tobacco companies will be obliged to install ashtrays at all of the country's beaches as well as other public locations.
The launch of the strategy comes just months after the European Parliament voted to ban single-use plastics, cotton buds, straws and stirrers as part of a sweeping law against plastic waste.