The End Of Plastic Cutlery, Plates And Straws: EU Market Says Goodbye To Single-Use Plastic Products

The aim of the directive, which is part of the European Plastics Strategy, is to protect the environment and reduce marine litter by avoiding the emission of 3.4 million tonnes of CO2. However, it should be noted the importance of the economic benefits that the new regulation will bring: the directive may avoid environmental damages which would cost the equivalent of €22 billion ($24.9 billion) by 2030 and save consumers a projected €6.5 billion ($7.38 billion). 

…The measures discussed are closely related to the latest estimates on marine litter, according to the European Commission, plastics make up 85% of beach litter, which is causing catastrophic consequences on the environment. The organization WWF has already pointed out the dramatic effects that the excessive use of plastics, poor management of waste and mass tourism are having in the Mediterranean Sea, the most visited sea in Europe.

…The new rules aim to stop the use of throwaway plastic products and packaging for which alternatives exist and is focused on the most frequently found items polluting European seas: plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, and chopsticks), plastic plates, plastic straws, cotton bud sticks made of plastic, beverage and food containers made of expanded polystyrene (such as fast food and takeaway boxes), and products made from oxo-degradable plastic, which contributes to microplastic pollution.  According to the European Commission, together these products constitute 70% of all marine litter items.

…The global production of plastics has not stopped to increase since 1960. According to the European Commission, in 2015 the global production reached 322 million tonnes and it is expected to double over the next 20 years. In Europe, around 25.8 million tonnes of plastic waste is generated every year and less than 30% of such waste is collected for recycling. 

The End Of Plastic Cutlery, Plates And Straws: EU Market Says Goodbye To Single-Use Plastic Products



Thousands rally against Hungary’s ‘slave-law’, PM Orban

Thousands of Hungarians have rallied in capital Budapest demanding the abolition of the so-called “slave-law” that allows employers to demand that staff work up to 400 hours of overtime a year.

…Protesters had a wide range of demands, including the removal of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

They “want academic freedom, they want free media, they want the abolition of the so-called ‘slave law’, they also want the abolition of the so-called ‘administrative courts’,” she said.

In addition to the labour code reform, the Fidesz-dominated parliament also passed a law to set up a new administrative court system to rule on issues such as corruption.

Critics say the courts could be politically manipulated as the judges are to be appointed by the justice minister.

Thousands rally against Hungary’s ‘slave-law’, PM Orban | Hungary News | Al Jazeera


Emotional And Psychological Abuse Are Now Crimes In Ireland

The legislation defines coercive control as “psychological abuse in an intimate relationship that causes fear of violence, or serious alarm or distress that has a substantial adverse impact on a person’s day-to-day activities.”

…The new law recognizes that “the effect of non-violent control in an intimate relationship can be as harmful to victims as physical abuse because it is an abuse of the unique trust associated with an intimate relationship,” Ireland’s Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, said in a statement on Wednesday.

…The Domestic Violence Act 2018 also criminalizes forced marriage, allows restraining orders for couples who do not live together and restricts media coverage in cases of gender-based violence.

Emotional And Psychological Abuse Are Now Crimes In Ireland | HuffPost


Rare blue pigment found in medieval woman’s teeth rewrites history

The researchers were studying a skeleton of a woman who was estimated to be between 45 and 60 years old when she died sometime between 997 and 1162. The skeleton itself was unremarkable, with no visible signs of trauma or infection.

But blue flecks were embedded in her teeth. Multiple spectrographic analyses revealed the blue pigment to be ultramarine, a rare pigment made from crushed lapis lazuli stones. It was as expensive as gold at the time, mined from a single region in Afghanistan and the ultimate luxury trade good then.

…”Only scribes and painters of exceptional skill would have been entrusted with its use,” said Alison Beach, study co-author and historian at Ohio State University, in a statement.

…”Based on the distribution of the pigment in her mouth, we concluded that the most likely scenario was that she was herself painting with the pigment and licking the end of the brush while painting,” said Monica Tromp, study co-author and microbioarchaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, in a statement.

Rare blue pigment found in medieval woman’s teeth rewrites history – CNN