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The Editors

Stemming the Tide of Plastic Pollution

Urgent action is needed before the problem gets much, much worse.

Not so fantastic.

Not so fantastic.

Photographer: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The European Commission’s proposal to ban plastic straws, plates, cutlery and drink stirrers, and slash the consumption of many other single-use products, is more than just a nice, novel idea. It’s a step urgently needed from every country — as plastic trash pours into the oceans at the rate of almost 9 million tons a year.

The flood of trash is killing fish, turtles, seals, coral and birds, and getting into the seafood people eat. If no action is taken, over the coming decade it stands to increase tenfold.