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Microplastics: Marine Environment

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 120240, tabled on 19 December 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle the release of microfibres into the marine environment from washing clothes.

Answered on

27 December 2017

We are aware that microplastics enter the marine environment from many sources. To protect the marine environment, we are introducing one of the toughest bans in the world on the manufacture and sale of rinse-off personal care products containing microbeads. This will prevent potentially billions of these tiny pieces of plastics from entering the oceans. We also have engaged the Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee (HSAC) to review evidence on microplastics from other sources, including textiles, and their chances of reaching our seas and causing harm to marine life. The microbead consultation also asked for evidence on other sources of marine plastic pollution. We will use these responses and evidence from HSAC to develop future UK action to protect the marine environment.