HELSINKI, June 3 (Xinhua) -- The European Environment Agency (EEA) on Monday called for wider measures in Europe to tackle plastic waste.
An agency survey published at the start of the World Circular Economy Forum in Helsinki indicated that only nine European countries had specific confirmed targets for plastic waste prevention.
The World Circular Economy Forum is a global initiative of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. Some 2000 business persons and policy makers attend the three-day event that began on Monday.
Following the first gathering in Helsinki in 2017, the event was arranged in Japan in 2018.
In its report the European Environment Agency acknowledged that fees levied on consumers for using plastic shopping bags has brought concrete results in many countries. However, the EEA urged that such measures should also be applied to other plastic products.
The agency said that plastic packing waste is currently the single largest plastic waste source in Europe. The EEA said that the environmentally most harmful plastic types should be prioritized. The agency drew attention to single-use plastics and non-recyclable plastic products.
The EEA assessment identified 173 waste prevention measures either implemented or planned for implementation. The EEA report was based on a review of national and regional waste prevention programs and results in 27 EU countries and Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. Of the EU countries Cyprus has not adopted a plastic waste program.
The European Commission adopted in 2018 a strategy for plastics in a circular economy and later a Single Use Plastics Directive.
The strategy acknowledged that plastic recycling capacities have not kept pace with the increasing global production of plastics. Currently, in Europe, only a third of plastic waste is collected for recycling.