The Plastic Crisis: Top priority now is to turn off the tap

The Plastic Crisis: Top priority now is to turn off the tap

Nearly 50 participants delved into the real Story of Plastics, discussing fears, hopes, and actions essential for addressing the plastic crisis. The documentary screening of The Story of Plastic and panel discussion on November 17th were organized together with student organisations at the University of Malta as part of the European Week for Waste Reduction.

Following the screening, we reinforced our knowledge with a short quiz. Eighty percent of participants agreed that the best solution to the plastic crisis is to reduce production. Ninety percent recalled from the documentary that not all plastics are recyclable. Helen, the lucky winner who answered all the questions correctly and the fastest, received a prize—a water filter provided by Tappwater Malta to help avoid bottled water.

The panel discussion led by Dr. Suzanne Maas, Climate Campaign Coordinator at Friends of the Earth Malta looked at  various aspects of the plastic issue, from recycling and microplastics to international plastic trade and democratic principles. On the panel were Prof. Prof. Emmanuel Sinagram, Lecturer in Polymer Chemistry (University of Malta), Prof. Marie Briguglio, Senior Lecturer in Economics (University of Malta), Dr. Luca Nguyen, Research Officer, Islands and Small States Institute (University of Malta ) and Andrew Schembri, Co-Founder and Chairman of the NGO ‘Żibel’. Participants were so engaged that the discussion continued even after the event in the corridor. Some insights from our panellists:

Prof. Marie Briguglio:
At the beginning, we held high hopes for plastics, but now we can see the consequences of this invention. The most alarming thought that crosses my mind is how many other things and materials we use, creating them in an attempt to change the situation for the better, will cause numerous environmental problems in the next few decades. As long as we continue simulating consumption, we’ll keep facing the same problems. The top priority now is to turn off the tap.

Dr. Luca Nguyen, who is currently working on reusable systems for Maltese restaurants, understands the solution:
Voluntary efforts from companies won’t be enough, and consumers can’t drive change without transformations in the industry. We need a European Union-wide directive on reuse systems and concrete policies to stop single-use plastics and reduce plastic pollution. 

This event was organised by Friends of the Earth Malta, Kunsill Studenti Universitarji (KSU), the Science Students’ Society (S-Cubed), the Earth Systems Association (ESA) and supported through the INVEST Operational Grant 2023-2025 of Aġenzija Żgħażagħ

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