Falkirk’s MP urges action on bead pollution

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Falkirk MP John McNally is calling for the UK government to “stop dragging their heels on marine pollution” and introduce a ban on plastic microbeads in cosmetics and toiletries.

Mr McNally, who sits on the environmental audit committee, said: “These damaging microbeads are rapidly accumulating in the world’s oceans – it is estimated that between 15 and 51 trillion microplastic particles have accumulated in our oceans – and can be highly damaging when mistakenly eaten or inhaled by marine life.

“Marine litter costs Scotland an estimated £16.8million a year, and impacts on our environment, wildlife, industry and tourism but as product manufacturing standards are reserved to Westminster it is vital that the Tories stop dragging their heels on marine pollution and introduce a ban.

“Ideally this would be an EU-wide ban for the greatest positive impact on our environment and would ensure that the UK does not lose out on manufacturing opportunities to other EU countries that do allow the use of microbeads in their products.”

He has welcomed moves by firms like Scottish Fine Soaps in Falkirk and the Co-operative to voluntarily stop using microplastics in their toiletries, but doubts whether a voluntary ban will persuade enough companies to phase them out.

He added: “The SNP is committed to protecting Scotland’s natural environment which is why the Scottish Government launched the first ever Marine Litter Strategy in 2014 with 40 key actions to minimise coastal and marine litter, including the encouraging alternative to plastic microbeads in cosmetics.”