Denmark says no to fewer plastic bags

The Danish government will vote against a European Parliament proposal to reduce the number of bags by 80 percent over the next five years.

The government has confirmed it will vote against a European Parliament proposal to reduce the circulation of thin plastic bags within the EU by 80 percent over the next five years.

Approximately 100 billion thin plastic bags are produced each year in Europe. Of these, around eight billion end up polluting the countryside.  

The proposal was set to be discussed today in the European Parliament, and Denmark's expected no-vote has led to heavy criticism.  

"It is shocking that Denmark believes nothing should be done collectively about this issue, instead leaving it up to each country to decide," Margrethe Auken, an MEP for SF, told DR. 

READ MORE: Denmark's plastic bag reduction efforts applauded

More research needed
The Danish government wishes to postpone the decision regarding a common European reduction target until sufficient research has been carried out.

"We don't believe there is enough basis to assess whether an 80 percent reduction target is ambitious enough," the environment minister, Kirsten Brosbøl, explained to DR.

"It doesn't make sense to set a target if we don't even know where we're at today."

Brosbøl wants to conduct more research about the consumption of plastic bags before setting a target in the future. 

Even so, Auken believes any reduction should be seen as a blessing rather than a hindrance.

"I believe the common Dane would be pleased if there were less plastic bags floating around."

Similar sentiments were echoed by the Danish Society for Nature Conservation (DN).

"It seems absurd that Denmark wishes to be a frontrunner for green policies, yet it opposes an ambitious reduction target that would be of benefit to the environment." said Sine Beuse Fauerby, an energy and environmental expert at DN, told DR.





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