December 5, 2018 - The Central Bank of Montenegro sent the Government recommendations for economic policy in 2019, which, among other things, proposes introducing taxes or revenues on plastic products to reduce their use. An independent consultant, organized by Zero Waste Montenegro, Masha Tomkovic, believes that the introduction of a fee on plastic products, especially disposable ones, would certainly reduce the use of such products.
"The proposal of the measure is quite general, but it shows a clear focus on the goal, which is a reduction in the use of plastic products on the territory of Montenegro. In principle, I support the measure of introducing a tax on a group of plastic products, but I think that the fees for importers of disposable bottles, mostly packaging products should be significantly higher," says Tomkovic for CdM. This incentive measure would, she says, if adopted, come at the right moment.
"Because according to the new Strategy on plastic waste in the circular economy on the EU market from 2030, only plastic products of design and composition which enable the complete recycling of products be possible. Countries outside the EU, including Montenegro, will become, I believe, an attractive market in the future for the placement of those plastic products that do not correspond with the quality of the market in the countries of the European Union," Tomković warned. It advocates a significant increase in the price of disposable plastic products, as they account for 59% of the total plastic waste and precisely the products from this group are, explains, the dominant polluters of our environment, and especially the sea.
“Reducing the use of these products and moving to more sustainable solutions would have many positive multiplier effects on human health, our environment, and the country's economy itself. Therefore, we should not neglect the need for continuous education of citizens about the harmful effects of plastic products," explains Zero Waste Montenegro consultant. He reminds that this organization launched a petition in July last year for banning plastic disposable bags in Montenegro which was signed in more than a month by more than 3,500 citizens.
"This campaign was aimed at voting to ban plastic bags for single use, as well as the so-called oxo-biodegradable bags. A large number of collected signatures speaks in favor of a significant part of our citizens noticing the problem of excessive use of plastics and plastic bags for our nature, and expecting healthier alternative and long-term solutions," Tomković adds.
According to her, after this action on the Montenegrin market, linen bags began to appear spontaneously, as a good substitute and a long-term and healthier solution. "The ban on the distribution of free bags, especially those of the thinner ones, as well as the significant increase in the price of the bag, would contribute to the fact that the trend of replacing plastic bags with a linen bag will come to life in full scope," Tomkovic assured.
Prohibitions around the world
The use of plastic bags is banned in several countries around the world, in some, they are taxed, and in some, their production, sales, and carrying are punished in cash, or even in prison. At the end of October, the European Parliament's representatives supported the proposal of the European Commission on the complete ban and reduction of certain plastics products, and it is expected that within a period of two years from the end of the adoption of the directive in the territory of the EU, the production of many products, such as plastic Q-tips, plates and cutlery, drinking straws... These products make up as much as 70 percent of the total waste found in the seas. Have we destroyed the Earth?
Scientists are increasingly warning that the planet has inflicted irreversible damage in the last few decades. Some go so far as to claim that in the 1950s it was Anthropocene - a geological epoch, characterized by the influence of man on Earth, radioactivity and plastic contamination began, which brought human survival into question.
Experts still debate this issue, but one thing is sure - we have to start to act more responsibly towards ourselves and the environment.
Text by Ž. Novović, on December 4th, 2018, read more at CdM