Microbeads will be banned to prevent tiny pieces of plastic entering the world’s oceans where they are then swallowed by wildlife, the Environment Secretary announced last week.
He also pledged action to reduce plastic waste in the world’s oceans and set out the Government’s ambition for the UK to lead the world in environmental protection.
As new figures published last week revealed more than nine billion fewer plastic bags were used since the government introduced a 5p charge, an 83 per cent reduction, the Environment Secretary set out further plans to prevent other sources of plastic finding their way into our oceans and seas.
Speaking at WWF UK on Friday morning, he said: “Eight million tonnes of plastic are discarded into the world’s oceans each year, putting marine wildlife under serious threat.
“There is more we can do to protect our oceans, so we will explore new methods of reducing the amount of plastic – in particular plastic bottles – entering our seas, improve incentives for reducing waste and litter, and review the penalties available to deal with polluters – all part of a renewed strategy on waste and resources that looks ahead to opportunities outside the EU.”
Greenpeace UK oceans campaigner Louisa Casson said: “The UK government has just proposed the strongest ban on microbeads in the world to date.
“This is great news for our environment and a positive sign of Britain’s global leadership on ocean plastics.”
For some time I have worked with St Agnes based Surfers Against Sewage, campaigning for these vital changes – small changes that make a huge difference. Some people are concerned about post Brexit environmental protection. Along with transferring EU laws to the UK, the plans laid out demonstrate commitment to delivering our pledge to leave the environment in a better state for the next generation.
First Published in the West Briton