Malta will ban the importation of single-use plastic products from Friday, becoming one of the first countries in the EU to do so, the environment ministry announced on Wednesday. 

The ban, initially announced in the Budget speech, follows a public consultation. 

The ban will apply to products such as plastic bags, cutlery, straws, plates, cotton buds, food containers, and stirrers. 

“It is high time that we give answers to children who ask about all the litter on our beaches, who see photos of washed-up seagulls with stomachs full of plastic products, and injured turtles caught up in plastic bags," the ministry said. 

The ministry said 2021 will be a transitory year for single-use plastic products already on the market and, as from 2022, their sale and distribution will be prohibited.

"We are doing this with determination, as Maltese families want the environment at the top of the government’s agenda post-COVID. At the same time, the process is fully transparent in order to provide certainty to industry,” Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia said.

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