As more than a third of fish caught in British waters are found to contain plastic microbeads, pressure is mounting over the banning of products containing the plastics.
It is estimated that 86 tonnes of microplastics from cosmetic products used in the UK wash into the sea every single year – and scientists estimate that if you now eat six oysters, you would probably ingest around 50 microplastic particles.
Mary Craegh, Labour MP for Wakefield, and has today called on Theresa May to call a ban on the beads in her blog on Left Foot Forward.
Writing on the issue, she says that, “President Obama has led the way on banning microbeads in facial and body scrubs by 2020, while Sweden, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada and Kenya are already considering bans of their own.”
She continues, “If this isn’t possible after our vote to leave the EU, the Environmental Audit Committee is calling on the government to introduce a national ban by the end of next year.”
In late August ministers held talks with environmental groups over the banning of microbeads, with the Government searching for a more thorough and comprehensive ban than the one currently in force in the United States.
The ban imposed by the US Government only covers beads that are from what is known as “rinse-off” scrubs and gels used for exfoliation.
Louis Edge, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace said that:
It is critical that we get the right kind of ban – a ban that covers all products which can possibly go down our drain and into the sea.
“After all, marine life doesn’t distinguish between plastic from a face wash and plastic from a washing detergent, but this is where legislation in countries like the US has fallen down.”
A number of companies have pledged to stop using them, including Unilever, L’Oréal, and Procter & Gamble. Boots UK Limited ceased using microplastics in its products in 2014.
MPs also debated the ban in June of this year.