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Paulo Mirpuri spurs Portuguese Environment Minister to take national action on single-use Plastics

15 November 2018

The President of Safeport and the Mirpuri Foundation Paulo Mirpuri, stood shoulder to shoulder with Portuguese Minister of Environment, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, as the Minister made the surprise announcement that the Portuguese State was to cease the use of all single-use plastics by January 2019. During the announcement made at the Web Summit 2018 in Lisbon, the minister further said that the move would extend to every department in the public administration as well as to State-tendered projects.

The Mirpuri Foundation is the sustainability partner of Safeport and the two organisations often dovetail their efforts towards putting the sustainability principles into practice.

Paulo Mirpuri has long lobbied the Government on the dangers of single-use plastics and has already committed Hi Fly, from the same aviation group as Safeport, to be the first carrier in the world to fly 'plastic free' by the end of 2019.

It is widely believed that the persistent and sustained campaign by the Foundation to highlight the dangers associated with single-use plastics was instrumental in the Government’s policy decision.

“We are not interested in taking the credit, for the act of the Government,” said Paulo, immediately after the news was broken at the Summit. “But of course, we welcome it. And we believe it is the right thing to do.

“Our campaign was, and still is, about influence and education.

“We seek to throw light on the subject so that others can see for themselves what the right policy is, not just for Portugal, though we are very happy that Minister Fernandes has announced this move alongside the Foundation at this wonderful Summit in Lisbon, but for all the world.

"The real beneficiaries of this announcement will be the children of Portugal and many generations of Portuguese children to come."

Paulo was sharing the Web Summit stage with the Minister, as well as filmmaker, explorer and environmental activist, Alexandra Cousteau, when Minister Fernandes astonished attendees and delegates with news of the proposed ban.

Alexandra Cousteau also welcomed the announcement, and congratulated Minister Fernandes saying: "Congratulations, this kind of leadership is important.”

The announcement was greeted by spontaneous applause from the thousands of people gathered at the Planet Tech stage, where, appropriately, Paulo was later due to give a speech to the Summit on sustainability.

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