Thank you for contacting me about microplastics.
I understand and share your concerns about the impact microplastics can have on the marine environment. Like many of my constituents, I am concerned following articles reporting that microplastics have been found in human lungs.
I am glad that the Government introduced one of the world’s toughest bans on the use of microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics and personal care products, regardless of whether they are used as exfoliants, cleansers or otherwise.
I believe that it is important that global action is taken on this issue. Through the £500 million Blue Planet Fund, the UK is funding developing countries to protect the marine environment and reduce poverty, including the Global Plastic Action Partnership to address plastic pollution. Through the UK and Vanuatu-led Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance, 34 Commonwealth nations have now committed to taking action on plastic pollution in the ocean.
Further, I welcome that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is undertaking a rapid evidence assessment to understand the costs, benefits and efficiencies of incorporating filters to trap microbeads from textiles in the laundry cycle.
More broadly, I am encouraged by the progress that has been made in reducing single-use plastic. This includes increasing the single-use carrier bag charge to 10p and extending it to all retailers, as well as restricting the supply of plastic straws, plastic drink stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds. I welcome the consultation on proposals to ban the supply of single-use plastic plates, cutlery and polystyrene food and beverage containers.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.