There was a time when the United States led the world in environmental protection. That position has now been taken over by Europe on areas ranging from eliminating fossil fuels to recycling. Now the European Parliament is about to take a bold stand against plastic pollution ruining our oceans with a ban on single use plastics. This comes at a time when plastics not only are close to outnumbering fish in the ocean but plastic saturation in the environment and food chain have been found to have contaminated human bodies.
The European Parliament has voted for a complete ban on products like plastic cutlery and plates, cotton buds, straws, drink stirrers and balloon sticks. It also calls for a reduction in single-use plastic for food and drink containers like plastic cups.
The EU hopes the ban will go into effect across the bloc by 2021.
While one can debate different approaches to dealing with the plastic problem, there is little being done nationally in the United States on the issue. Since the oceans remain the primary food source for humanity, we are watching Hardin “Tragedy of the Commons” play out on a global scale. Garrett Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons showed how the unregulated use of a common resources leads to its degradation or loss — even to the point of starving a population that destroys the resource needed for its survival.