A number of important votes took place in the European Parliament end of October.
First up, Members of the European Parliament voted on banning a range of single-use plastics such as plastic cutlery, straws, cotton buds, and balloon sticks amongst others. The move which is hoped to go into effect across the European Union by 2021 is part of the growing concern over the quantities of plastic ending up in oceans around the world. MEPs also set a target for the collection and proper recycling of 90% of plastic bottles by 2025. With more than 150,000 tonnes of plastic ending up in European waters every year, and with the time for some products to biodegrade reaching over 500 years, ambitious and decisive actions are needed. MEPs also tackled the issue of antimicrobial resistance following a report prepared by MEP Françoise Grossetête. The new regulation on veterinary medicinal products aims to prevent “the spread of antibiotic resistance from animals to humans” comments the European Parliament, whilst ensuring that “consumers are not exposed to antibiotic residues in food products and to make sure antibiotics remain effective against infection”.
Antibiotic resistance, most often caused because of the overuse or misuse of antibiotics, is an increasingly problematic issue. Because of the far-reaching consequences this may have, EuChemS has placed its prevention within its proposed ‘Missions’ for the future research framework programme, Horizon Europe. The focus on antibiotic resistance is not new. EuChemS had in April 2016, organised a joint European Parliament STOA, and EFMC workshop on ‘Solving Antibiotic Resistance’ to analyse and discuss possible ways forward.