Environment

Jure Leben, new environment minister who advocates all-out plastic bag ban

Photo: Government of Slovenia

Published

September 21, 2018

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Published:

September 21, 2018

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Slovenia’s new minister of the environment and spatial planning Jure Leben is environmental protection expert educated in the U.S. and the UK, who, among other things, advocates a total ban on plastic bags.

According to the Slovenian media, the new minister will face many outstanding issues in the sector, including waste packaging, the rehabilitation of polluted areas, flood prevention measures, and certain disputed projects such as the Šoštanj thermal power plant.

Before he was named minister of the environment, Leben said he will advocate waste minimization. His definition of waste management is prevention, reuse, recycling, energy-from-waste and disposal, Žurnal24 reported.

He opposes plastic bag taxation simply because he wants to ban plastic bags altogether.

“I support a complete removal of plastic bags as soon as possible,” Leben said.

After taking over the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning from Irena Majcen, Leben said that this is a ministry that has been neglected for many years, even though it regulates extremely important issues, Delo reported.

Environmental and spatial problems concern each of us, he said, adding that the environmental aspect must become an integral part of every political decision in Slovenia.

In the field of environmental protection, a civilization either falls or stands, the new minister said.

Leben obtained master’s degree in philosophy this year

Jure Leben received his BSc in environmental assessment and protection in the U.S., after which he completed specialist environmental studies at Oxford Brookes University while working for the TRL transport institute in London, where he was responsible for assessing transport systems and their impact on the environment.

This year, Leben obtained a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Hertfordshire.

He became head of the Center for Renewable Energy and Environmental Protection in Pivka in 2008, before going on to the Slovenian government’s Climate Change Office, where he was responsible for developing energy and new green technology policies and for managing European projects. In 2012 he joined the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment, where he was in charge of introducing the ECO label and eco innovations.

Four years later, he became state secretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure responsible for managing a major railway infrastructure project, the official biography on the ministry’s website reads.

According to the oe.finance portal, he was appointed state secretary at the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning in October 2014, but he resigned the post only just one month.

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