The Italian island of Capri, located opposite the Gulf of Naples (south), has taken a step forward by banning, from next May, the use and marketing of single-use plastics, a veto that the Union European Union (EU) will not apply until 2021.
Cutlery, plates, glasses, food containers or any other item made with plastic that is not biodegradable will not be allowed to enter this island, according to the municipal ordinance that the City Council approved.
Capri, which has a population of just over 7,000 inhabitants, is one of the most exclusive and popular holiday destinations in Italy and for years it imposed a tourist tax to preserve the environment before the massive arrival of visitors.
The aim of this new regulation is "to reduce the problem of pollution, improve the selective collection of waste and, obviously, contribute to the care of the environment", assured Efe Gianni De Martino, the mayor of this island in the Campania region.
"We have a huge problem and we have to contribute, we have all heard about the famous plastic islands that are in the sea," said the mayor to justify the measure.
With this prohibition, Capri puts the direct and advances a year and a half to the European directive that also wants to fight against these islands of plastic, although with different rhythms. The European Parliament yesterday marked 2021 as the expiration date of single-use plastics.
On the island the ban will take effect on May 15, at the gates of the summer season, and will apply to the entire territory, with special attention to the beaches and the coastal strip, which are the most affected by pollution for the plastic waste directed to the sea.
A situation that already put on the table an investigation of the environmental association 'Legambiente' in 2017. The study revealed that the maritime space between the island of Capri and the mainland was where the greatest presence of waste from Campania was, with a density four times higher than the Italian average.
Just yesterday the Council of Ministers of Italy approved a bill that will allow fishermen to collect the plastic left in their nets, since until now they had to throw it into the sea to avoid facing a crime of illegal transport of waste and they also had to pay for its elimination.
The plastic products that Capri now prohibits and that will veto Europe in 2021 constitute 70% of the total marine debris. Its slow decomposition process causes plastic to accumulate in seas and beaches and to be ingested by animals that we also consume afterwards.
Just this week a sperm whale was found dead with more than twenty kilos of plastic and a fetus already deceased in its interior, off the coast of the tourist Porto Cervo, on the island of Sardinia (east).
The consistory considered that an island like Capri, with a great "international projection", could not be left out of the initiatives "aimed at an increasingly specific environmental and naturalistic protection".
According to De Martino, the regulation is "a very important change", especially for supermarkets, which must "get biodegradable products" and stop selling all those that are made with single-use plastic.
So that the establishments can give exit to the products that already have in their warehouses, the City council will give a period of grace of 90 days after the entrance in force of the normative. After that date, whoever skips the ban will have to face a fine ranging from 25 to 500 euros.
To the extent of Capri, other islands and towns near the sea have been added, such as Procida or Naples and many others, according to De Martino, are already preparing to approve similar initiatives.
"We are looking to imitate each other to have a much greater result," concludes the mayor.
By Carla Riverola Brutau