United Nations

June 2022 - You are accessing an old version of our website. The Ocean Voluntary Commitments have been migrated here: https://sdgs.un.org/partnerships/action-networks/ocean-commitments

You will be redirected to the new Voluntary Commitments register in 10 seconds.

Stop plastic bags in the Mediterranean Area
by Legambiente ONLUS (Non-governmental organization (NGO))
One of the most widespread waste in our oceans and seas are plastic bags. Around 100 billion plastic bags are produced per year and are placed in the market only in the European Union. In Mediterranean Sea an estimated 25 million plastic bags pollute every 1,000 kilometres of coast, more than 1 trillion for 46000 kilometres of the Mediterranean Sea per year. The percentage is 56% of the total beached waste and 83% of floating litter.

Prevention is the most important action.

The Italian legislation has permitted to acquire best performances in environmental and economical perspectives. After five years of ban of plastic carrier bags below 100 micron consumption of PE has been reduced by 55%, from more than 200.000 tonsa to 90.000 tonsa with a positive transition to compostable carrier bags that are vital for develop and improve the separate collection of food waste.

Other Mediterranean countries are in the same direction as France and Morocco with a total ban of plastic bags. Other countries are introducing a tax on single use plastic bags as Croatia, Malta, Israel and some municipality or district of Spain, Greece and Turkey. Tunisia has banned non-biodegradable plastic bags in large-chain supermarkets. But it is still not enough.

Legambiente ONLUS commits to promote a ban on plastic carrier bags below 100 microns, except bags for primary transport (i.e. fisheries) and biodegradable and compostable certified EN 13432 or ISO 14855 to all other Mediterranean countries.

Passing through the net of volunteers and other associations, Legambiente, Kyoto club and Environmental Alliance for the Mediterranean aim to address the Mediterranean governments collecting at first the support of the other Mediterranean association and other stakeholder to the plastic bags ban proposed.
Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
  • Plastics product bans or restrictions
December 2020
Decrease of plastics bag findings during beach litter monitoring
December 2020
Increase the monitoring activities with particular focus on plastic bags beached
December 2020
Collection of signed support from the Legambientes contact network of Mediterranean countries associations and structure and volunteers
December 2020
Adoption of plastic bags ban in all the Mediterranean countries
Staff / Technical expertise
Scientific staff and campaign office of Legambiente Onlus, technical expertise and project management
Basic information
Time-frame: November 2016 - December 2020
KyotoClub, Environmental Alliance for the Mediterranean
Ocean Basins
  • North Atlantic
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
The Mediterranean sea, rivers and environment. Fishermen, tourist sector
Contact information
Stefano Ciafani, Executive Director of Legambiente, scientifico@legambiente.it, 0039 06 86268345
Rome, Italy
Other SDGs
United Nations