Michael Gove: Plastic microbeads to be banned by end of the year
Michael Gove has confirmed the Government will press ahead with plans to ban environmentally damaging plastic microbeads by the end of the year.
The move comes as experts estimate plastic is ingested by 31 species of marine mammals and over 100 species of sea birds each year.
Ministers said legislation will be brought forward later in the year to ban the product, which is commonly used in shower gels and toothpastes, having completed their consultation with cosmetics industry stakeholders.
In a summary of responses the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said ministers would seek to end production of the small bits of plastic by the beginning of 2018, with an outright ban on their sale by June that year.
Speaking at a World Wildlife Fund event on Friday morning, the Environment Secretary said “eight million tonnes of plastic” which are discarded into the world’s oceans each year, are putting marine wildlife under “serious threat”.
“Last year the government launched a consultation on banning microbeads in personal care products, which have such a devastating effect on marine life,” Mr Gove said.
“We are responding to that consultation today and we will introduce legislation to implement that ban later this year.
“But 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.”
Mr Gove compared the move to the 5p charge on plastic bags which was brought into force in England in 2015.
“Figures released today show that policy’s enormous success – nine billion fewer carrier bags distributed since the charge was introduced, a fall of 83 per cent,” he said.
“More than £95million raised from the charge has been donated to environmental, educational and other good causes.
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