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The Port hosts a conference on ‘A European strategy for plastic in a circular economy’ with the presence of Joanna Drake

The Port hosts a conference on ‘A European strategy for plastic in a circular economy’ with the presence of Joanna Drake
27 May
2019

A change in mentality to obtain alliances that achieve a circular economy

Last Friday 24 May an environmental workshop entitled ‘A European strategy for plastic in a circular economy’ was held in the conference room of the Tarragona Port Authority.

It was opened by the director general of the Port of Tarragona, Ramón I. García. The first part of the day focused on an address by the European Commission’s Deputy Director General for the Environment, Joanna Drake.

Drake sent a clear message appealing for the modernisation of our societies and called for a campaign to create greater civic awareness of the need for a sustainable economy to improve our quality of life and our planet. Some of the measures proposed are designed to close the circle of the life cycle of products through recycling and reuse, positive options for the environment and the European economy. The plan calls for taking the greatest possible advantage of raw materials, products and waste, as well as saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The conference ended with a round table on ‘A European strategy for plastic, an opportunity for Tarragona’

Ms Drake’s intervention was followed by a round table in which the Regional Government of Catalonia’s Secretary General for the Environment and Sustainability, Marta Subirà, emphasised the vital importance of respecting the environment that impacts directly on our lives. She outlined some of the more visible policies, such as the so-called ‘Bag Pact’ that in five years has achieved a 50% reduction in the use of plastic bags, while the government continues to work on formulas that promote a transition towards a change in mentality in the whole of society.

Next, Albert González, Head of the Environment in the Port of Tarragona took the attendees through some of the waste management and maritime protection measures implemented by the Port. He commented that the Port of Tarragona is aware of the constant challenges it faces in order to maintain its competitiveness in a global economy, as well as to meet the social demand to protect the environment and use our energy resources responsibly.

The next speaker was the director of Communications, Institutional Relations and Sustainability for BASF, Xavier Ribera, who began his talk with the motto ‘We create chemicals for a sustainable future’ and a forthright message, ‘the linear economy has little present and even less future where chemicals have to face up to the major challenges of the future’.

Esther Celma, Head of Communications for the Mediterrània – Mare Terra foundation noted that the challenge is based on a change to a model in which sensitising, creating awareness, disseminating and channelling sustainable actions are fundamental for respecting the planet’s resources. Celma described an award-winning project known as ‘Tetra House’ that converts used Tetra Briks into insulation for homes in areas with low temperatures led by Verde Balam, an environmentalist and social movement begun by the Mexican energy provider.

Jaume Folch, URV professor and a member of GEPEC, explained the importance of research into plastic to study and corroborate its effect both on the environment and people’s health.

To end the round table, the representative of Ecologists in Action spoke of the need to resolve the root of problem by totally eliminating the manufacture of plastics, maintaining that recycling is only a minor patch on a big problem.

A message that calls for alliances and creating awareness

This conference aimed to adopt ambitious measures to help companies and consumers transition to a circular economy with the objective of making a more sustainable use of our resources. As one of the speakers stated, we all have to change our behaviour because there is no Planet B!

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