What are the new rules?
You won’t be allowed to bring things like plastic cutlery and plates, cups, straws or food containers on to the island – if you do, you could risk a fine of up to €500.
The new rules, which came into force on 15th May, also mean that shops, bars and restaurants on the island won’t be able to give customers any single-use plastics. They’ve been given 90 days to get rid of existing stock.
One item to escape the ban so far is small plastic water bottles – but the local authorities will be handing out free reusable water bottles this summer, with a view to banning single-use water bottles next year
So, if you‘re planning to visit the island with your students, this offers a fantastic opportunity for them to learn more about the issues around single-use plastics.
Why has Capri taken this step?
The EU as a whole will ban single-use plastics from 2021, so what’s made Capri decide to act earlier?
Well, in 2017 Legambiente, and Italian environmentalist association, found that the sea between Capri and the mainland contained the largest amount of plastic residue in the entire region of Campania.
The mayor of Capri, Gianni De Martino, has said that the measure has been taken not only to protect the environment in and around Capri, but also to bring greater attention to the global impact of single-use plastics.
And Capri isn’t actually the first Italian commune to ban single-use plastics. In fact, the Tremiti islands, off the coast of Puglia, have had a ban on single-use plastics in force since last summer.
There are also plans to ban single-use plastics on the island of Procida and in the city of Naples. And Puglia will ban single-use plastics near beaches.
What’s the problem with single-use plastics?
One of the issues with single-use plastics is the sheer amount that we’re consuming, especially when you consider that just 9% of the nine billion tonnes of plastic the world has ever produced has been recycled.
When we throw single-use plastics away, they can cause serious issues for our environment.
We all know about animals getting caught up in plastic, or eating it in a case of mistaken identity, all of which plays havoc with ecosystems. But plastic can have other equally devastating effects.
Plastic can block up waterways, creating stagnant pools in which malaria-carrying mosquitoes can breed, causing increased transmission of that deadly disease and other vector-borne diseases.
Plastic is a problem because it doesn’t just biodegrade and disappear into the soil. It will break down, eventually, but it releases toxic chemicals and microplastics as it does so, which make their way into our food chain.
Microplastics have already been found in table salt, and bottled and tap water. Eventually, these toxic chemicals and microplastics make it into our bodies causing cancer, infertility and birth defects among other things.
And single-use plastics are expensive to clean up too – it’s estimated to cost around €630 million each year to clean Europe’s beaches.
If you’re heading to Capri on your school trip to Naples and Sorrento, you will have to be careful not to bring single-use plastics on to the island if you want to avoid a fine.
But wherever you go on your next school trip, banning single-use plastic from your trip could not only be great for the environment, but also gives you the perfect opportunity to teach the next generation about responsible and sustainable tourism.
If you require any further information on how the new rules in Capri could affect your school trip, please don’t hesitate to contact us.