Thursday, 30 June, 2016

The United Nations Agencies in Albania in partnership with Italian Embassy, Tirana Municipality and CONAD marked today the end of a three week campaign aiming to reduce the use of plastic bags in Albania.
In Albania, almost every item that is sold comes with a free plastic bag, many of which end up littering the Albanian countryside or polluting Albanian rivers. Therefore, the UN, Italian Embassy and Green Line Albania joined forces with the supermarket chain CONAD to raise awareness among the Albanian public on the need to reduce the use of plastic bags. 
For three weeks, CONAD customers were asked for a voluntary monetary contribution for each plastic bag used in CONAD shops in Tirana and in some other regions. At the same time, CONAD and the organizations involved undertook a public awareness and information campaign, aimed at making citizens aware of the harm caused to the environment by the plastic bags and calling on them to act responsibly and consume with care.
In the past 20 years, Albania has witnessed a substantial economic growth. The introduction of mass consumption has also lead to an enormous increase in consumer waste, including plastic bags and other wrapping material. Very often this plastic ends up in the environment, polluting streets, rivers and the countryside across the country. 
The Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj addressing the event declared:” Tirana will fully ban plastic bags on World Environment Day 5 June 2017”
“The UN Resident Coordinator in Albania Mr. Brian Williams said: “It is imperative that Albanian consumers as well as policy makers think more about sustainable consumption patterns. Responsible Consumption and Production is one of the Sustainable Development Goals, which we are all working on to achieve in the next 15 years. What is ultimately needed is a more sustainable and enforceable government policy. Many cities and countries in the world have already introduced successful measures to cut the use of plastic bags, something which Albania can use as an inspiration.”
The funds collected from this campaign will go to Green Line Albania which has embarked on an initiative to plant one million trees all over Albania.