MPs urge action to end “toxic flow” of microplastics into waterways



Cross-party MPs and campaigners have called on the UK Government to “urgently address the toxic flow” of microplastics into the UK’s rivers and seas.

Speaking at a House of Lords roundtable on 5 March, former Green Party leader Baroness Natalie Bennett highlighted the urgent need “to protect human and environmental health”. She also added “there are millions of people across the country that are behind us”.

Baroness Natalie Bennett, commented: “We have an increasingly plastic-choked planet and a significant amount of that is coming from the clothing industry in the form of microplastics. This is a dual environmental health and public health risk, requiring bold action from policymakers.

“There is an urgent need to protect human and environmental health and follow the progressive policymaking of our neighbours in the European Union whose ambition we ought to match.”

The calls follow an open letter signed by more than 50 MPs and campaigners, urging ministers to join European Union nations in setting out tougher restrictions.

This is a dual environmental health and public health risk, requiring bold action from policymakers.

Other senior politicians at the event included Labour Shadow Climate Change and Net Zero Minister Kerry McCarthy MP; Environmental Audit Committee Chair Philip Dunne MP; and Liberal Democrat environment spokesperson Baroness Cathy Bakewell.

The discussion was hosted by Matter, an environmental innovation company developing technological solutions to microplastics.

Sian Sutherland, Co-Founder of A Plastic Planet and the Plastic Health Council, said: “Why are we even having this debate when the solutions are staring right at us? The public desperately want action on plastic, but legislation is the only way to help our environment.

Microplastics Roundtable
The House of Lords roundtable on 5 March.

“The government claim to have acted on plastic pollution, but their current bans on single-use cutlery and cosmetic microbeads are a drop in the ocean for what is required to properly tackle Britain’s plastic waste crisis.

“We require not only a microplastic filter mandate on all new washing machines, but decisive action to end our unsustainable reliance on plastic altogether. We simply cannot afford to wait any longer.”

Microplastics are tiny plastic particles less than five millimetres in size, Matter said. 35% of microplastics originate from textiles, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature data.

Send this to a friend