Prague, April 19 (CTK) – The Czech Senate approved on Wednesday a draft amendment to the packaging law, according to which people will have to pay for plastic bags, with the exception of thin ones for baked goods and meat products, in shops as from next year.

The bill is yet to be signed by President Milos Zeman.

The bill reacts to the EU directive restricting the volume of plastic waste.

The amendment does not set the price of the plastic bags. It only says it must cover the production costs at least.

Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO), reacting to critics of the bill, said he concedes that this change may seem trivial in the light of the current developments in the world.

“However, there are really isles of plastic waste in the sea, which have a very negative impact on the biosphere,” he said.

When passing the government draft amendment, the Chamber of Deputies amended the rate of recycling and use of packaging waste until 2020.

The government proposed that recycling be raised from 60 to 70 percent, while overall, 80 percent of packaging materials were to be used.

The Chamber of Deputies cut this percentage to 75. Still, it is more than required by the EU directive.